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UPDATE: Cooper FFA advances to State

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Courtesy Photo
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UPDATE: The Cooper FFA team will be advancing to State Competition after receiving first at Area.

The Cooper FFA participants have been preparing and reciting for local entities for their upcoming District FFA Agricultural Issues Leadership Development Event. Students including Joseph Moore, Jayla Lair, Cole Stringer, Will Young and Gabbie Brown have visited the local Cooper Lions Club and the Delta County Commissioners Court with their instructor and sponsor Welton Pickering.

Their topic, “Does Texas Need New Reservoirs?” has been very enlightening for those in attendance. The in depth analysis has included a mock trial concluding with the public deciding was best for the State of Texas. The event is based around current issues the agricultural field faces today.

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Credit Cindy Roller / Cooper Review
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Cooper Review
FFA sponsor Mr. Welton Pickering oversees Gabbie Brown, Will Young, Jayla Lair and Cole Stringer during a FFA Agricultural Issues Leadership Development Event rehearsal at the Delta County Commissioners Court Monday.

The FFA participants were preparing to answer any of the public’s inquiries on the topic to be better prepared for contest time. The students performed before a full room of over 20 Lions Club members last Thursday and over 15 at Commissioners Court last Monday.

This topic is particularly concerning to Delta County residents with the high demands made on Jim Chapman/Cooper Lake by the Metroplex area in a time of drought.

Joseph Moore outlined the procedure of their plan of action and performed duties as moderator.

“Does Texas need new reservoirs?... The primary method of the 2012 State Water Plan was a simple one in serious drought conditions, ‘Texas does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, its businesses and agricultural enterprises,” said Gabbie Brown in her speech.

“What can we do to get more water?” said Will Young.  “One way is to build new lakes and reservoirs. Other methods include conservation efforts and reuse.”

“On Dec. 28, 1991 Jim Chapman also known as Cooper Lake was completed.  Our school property actually joints the Cooper Lake property. It is believed the project was first advocated by area residents local land owners and our Ag teacher’s great-grandfather Grover Pickering and Quentin Miller,” stated Jayla Lair.

“Besides flood control the Lake also supplies water to the Northeast Texas Municipal Water District, the Sulphur Springs Municipal Water District and the City of Irving through a six-foot pipeline running to Lake Lavon,” said Cole Stringer “There are several new lakes proposed all within 50 miles of Cooper – Marvin Nichols, Lake Ralph Hall and Bois d'arc Reservoir.”

During the mock trial the participants argued the points for the public. Several questions were presented by the citizens including, “Who stands to make money on the building of the reservoirs?” The students offered an explanation that included how the Metroplex will likely benefit.

The Northeast Texas Region has battled the point that tax dollars will be lost if land is given up for reservoirs.

“Water is a commodity. Supply should equally demand,” added Mr. Pickering. Local citizen agreed the appraisals values for this land needs to match with a future value number with the ever growing population. Many agreed the construction of new reservoirs is just a “drop in the bucket” towards helping the water supply.

District competition for the team will be next Friday, Nov. 7 at Northeast Texas State University in Mount Pleasant.

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