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Local student shows animals to the top

Matt Carter took a first-place win in states to a top-10 finish in nationals

Matt Carter, a senior at Northern Adirondack Central School, earned top honors at a national FFA competition.

Matt Carter, a senior at Northern Adirondack Central School, earned top honors at a national FFA competition. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

— Matt Carter grew up surrounded by farms.

Then one day he ran into a teacher talking about cows and four years later he is the state champion in animal showmanship and ranked in the top 10 at the nationals in Indiana, walking away with a gold emblem.

“For this area, that is a big deal,” said Northern Adirondack Central School agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Donald Jones of Carter’s accomplishments this school year.

“I just feel like you can do anything you put your mind to,” Carter said.

A high-school senior and member of the Northern Adirondack FFA chapter, Carter participated in the National FFA Dairy Cattle Handlers’ Activity. The event was held in conjunction with the 84th National FFA convention in Indianapolis, Ind., sponsored by Dean Foods Company of Dallas, Tex., and the National FFA Foundation.

The National FFA Organization is a national youth group of 540,739 student members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.

Nationals, held in late October, drew 50,000-plus FFA members, advisors and guests from across the country. The FFA mission is to positively impact students by developing leadership skills, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

“FFA provides students with opportunities,” Jones said. “A lot of times, it is their purpose for coming to school. It is a place that is a little bit different than all their academics.”

FFA and the agriculture class enable students to learn about plant science, fish ecology, hydroponics, tractor driving, soil testing, small-animal care and more.

“You can learn about life and people working together,” Jones said. “These kids get real-world experience.”

It took Carter time to gain the skills needed to compete on the national level, Jones said.

“Matt has that internal drive and does well in whatever he does.”

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