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‘Mathletes’ take number 2 spot

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FFA team excels at national competition

By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Although their names may already be familiar around Williston, recently Bradley Jones, Samantha Sandlin, Ty Cramer and Quincy Cason took action that would ensure they will not soon be forgotten–especially in the annals of Williston FFA history.
The four make up the Farm Business Management Team, a group dedicated to applying economic principles and concepts to analyze farm and ranch management decisions to ensure better productivity and profitability.
One of 40 teams who competed at the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. Oct. 24-27, Williston’s FFA team walked away with second place honors scoring 991 out of a possible 1200 during a three-hour test.
Cason was the second high individual, competing against 158 students from 40 states. The top 10 individuals and the national winning team receive cash awards for their efforts.
Cason, Cramer and Sandlin describe what they do as “fun.” No doubt Jones, who is away at college would agree.
“It’s a challenge,” Cramer said, explain what goes into a national winning team.
“It’s more fun than you might think,” Sandlin said.
It helped, the three agreed, that this year the scenarios they were given were the real financials and operations of an actual farm.
After studying the information–about a week before convention–the team put their heads together and came up with viable solutions to their situations.
Cason said the team was well prepared for Indianapolis. About three hours a week this summer was put into prepping for national competition, which also included studying past tests.
“We Skyped with Brad,” Sandlin said on how the team worked together.
“We offer suggestions that can help them be better,” Cason said, explaining the team concept that helps analyze how a particular business is organized.
“It was one farm with their budget, their enterprise. I suppose we’re ‘mathletes’,” Cramer said.
Indeed. These four young people  understand practical economic principles, as well as what types deductions farmers can take on their income taxes.
Sandlin is also skilled in analyzing futures–the practice of agreeing on a price today for livestock or crops with delivery and payment coming at some future date. The buyer hopes or expects that the asset price is going to increase, while the seller hopes or expects that it will decrease in near future.
Sound risky? It is, but the team is so versed in this field, that Cramer, Sandlin and Cason are all studying business or economics on the college level.
Financial efficiency ratio. Liquidity. Proficiencies. They’re all part of the vocabulary of this winning team.
Cramer said being a part of the FBM team has also helped in other parts of his life, especially school, were the organizational skills come in handy. It also helps him help others at his job at Sparr Lumber.
The team is coached by Ben Randolph and Jimmy Cason. Randolph lauded Jimmy Cason’s work with the team and also praised Robert Philpot and the FFA Alumni.
“They’re all a part of the success,” he said.