Students at Bald Eagle Area High School have been competing at the Pennsylvania Farm Show for at least six years.
But this year, some students are participating in competitions they never have before.
Agriculture mechanics teacher Jade Thompson has been overseeing about 20 students in an effort to restore a tractor from 1959.
It’s all part of the Tractor Restoration Competition, which allows participants to document their work — and the tractor’s history — through physical, oral, and audio and visual presentations.
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Students to present show and meat rabbits at Pa. Farm Show
Last year, agriculture teacher and FFA adviser Todd Biddle helped oversee students who presented show rabbits at the Farm Show.
This year, while some students are showing Dutch rabbits that they raised in class, three students — sophomore Caitlynn Close and juniors Kristen Colpetzer and Derek Henry — are taking a different approach.
They’re showing meat rabbits that will be judged on size and weight specifically for food.
Biddle said the idea to present meat rabbits was sparked earlier in the school year by students and their families who participated in the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair.
Meat rabbit showcase inspired by events at Grange Fair
“They said they were noticing meat rabbits were getting a little more attention and there was a little more money in it, and suggested we do it at school,” Biddle said.
The kinds of rabbits used for meat are called Californian rabbits, Close said.
“We’ve just been raising them in class and making sure every day that they’re within requirement,” she said.
By Farm Show standards, meat rabbits must be 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 pounds, born by Nov. 1 and bred from the same litter.
It’s a test for us for sure. I’m a little concerned already that they will be too big. ... Some have hit a growth spike, but we’re trying something new and that’s all we can do
Todd Biddle, BEA ag teacher
“It’s a test for us for sure,” Biddle said. “I’m a little concerned already that they will be too big. ... Some have hit a growth spike, but we’re trying something new and that’s all we can do.”
The Farm Show starts Jan. 7 in Harrisburg.
The top 10 judged meat rabbits will be eligible for sale.
Biddle said any money made from sales will go back into agriculture programs at Bald Eagle Area.