Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know the answer is land, capital, management and labor. That was the tie-breaking question at Tennessee Tech University’s School of Agriculture’s Fifth Annual Agriscience Academic Bowl and Career Day, an event for high school junior and senior agriculture students held recently at the Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavilion.
The winning team from Clarkrange High School gave the correct answer to defeat the runner-up team from Sevier County High School.
“This event is both an excellent recruiting tool and a leadership development opportunity for our current agriculture students, and we expect it to continue growing bigger and better in the future,” said Pat Bagley, dean of the College of Agricultural and Human Sciences.
Each member of the winning team is offered a $500 scholarship, and each member of the runner-up team is offered a $200 scholarship — provided they are admitted to and attend college at TTU, pursuing a major in agriculture.
“That’s one of the things that makes this event unique — the winning teams know at the end of the day that they’ve got at least one scholarship to help them come to school here,” said Jim Baier, assistant professor of agriculture at TTU.
As the event continues to grow, Bagley said, he hopes to be able to increase the dollar amounts of those scholarships, eventually being able to offer members of the first place team up to $1,000 apiece.
Ben Byler, agriculture professor, agreed. “The first time we organized this event five years ago, we thought we were lucky to have about a dozen teams from the Upper Cumberland area participating.
“This year, we had 38 teams with about 250 total participants,” he continued. “It’s turned into a statewide event, with teams from as far east as Johnson County and farther west than Cheatham County participating.”
About half of the teams compete in the double elimination tournament at any given time, answering questions about agricultural business and economics, agricultural education, agricultural mechanics, animal science, horticulture science and plant and soil science.
“The competition is an educationally stimulating event that focuses on subject content that these agriculture students are learning in the classroom, and the teams not competing at any given time have the opportunity to walk around the concourse at Hyder-Burks and participate in our Career Day activities,” Byler said.
In addition to learning about educational and admissions opportunities in TTU’s School of Agriculture, the Career Day activities also provide participating high school students the opportunity to meet and talk to current TTU agriculture students and faculty, said Wade Faw, agriculture professor and director of the School of Agriculture.
“Although the event itself is coordinated by a committee, it requires a joint effort of the entire School of Agriculture,” he said. “All of the faculty get involved in it, in addition to many of the staff and students.”
Lunch is provided, and each participant receives a T-shirt and other promotional items.
All high school agriculture programs are invited to enter teams in the competition, which is always held the first Saturday in December.