Alongside the cattle, goats, hogs and sheep this year, plants will be a new sale item at the Wise County Youth Fair. Decatur FFA adviser Jim Allsup created a new department in order to bring some fresh activity to the fair.
“Horticulture is a growing part of our agriculture programs throughout the state,” he said. “We have quite a few students that have an interest in it, and I want to implement it in our county.”Allsup proposed the new department and rules to the Youth Fair Board for approval. Pulling examples from other counties, he wrote the set of rules now available at www.wcyouthfair.org/DeptW.html.
“I’m hoping it will spark some interest for others besides just the livestock kids, and I think it will,” he said. “I still think there will be some livestock exhibitors who will also have a plant.”
The four divisions include Floral Arrangements, Container Grown Plants (combination of three or more plants), Hanging Baskets and Single Grown Plant (foliage or flowering). Projects will be judged 80 percent on plant material and 20 percent on the container.
“I went to my pool of ag teachers that are really good in the horticulture area around North Texas and selected my judge,” he said.
A student new to horticulture, Decatur High School junior Laura Nicholson developed an interest in the contest after taking Allsup’s Floral Design class at the high school.
“I found out about the new department in Mr. Allsup’s class,” she said. “I’m not sure which division I want to do, but I may do more than one.”
Planning to start her arrangement soon, Nicholson will rely on the assistance of her peers and Allsup.
“He knows so much more than I do, and if I want to place, I could sure use his help,” she said.
Students have the opportunity to win premium money for placing, Overall Grand Champion and Overall Reserve Grand Champion. The entry deadline is Feb. 9. Late entries are Feb. 10-15, at an increased fee.
Anyone with questions can contact Jim Allsup at 940-393-7286.