From the Farm: Olivia Shike wins national FFA recognition


TOLONO, Ill. (WCIA) – Unity High School sophomore and Unity FFA member Olivia Shike received national recognition at the national FFA convention last weekend in Indianapolis.

Shike’s research on cattle conception won the top award in her division of the agriscience fair.

“The agriscience fair is an opportunity for FFA kids to show off a research project and there’s a lot of different categories, but I participated in animal systems division,” Shike said. “I created a research project that was on cattle from my grandpa and uncle’s cattle farm and I studied the effect of an injectable trace mineral on the conception rates of AI cows and ET recipients.”

AI and ET stand for artificial insemination and embryo transfer.

“It basically meant that I looked at trace minerals, which are minerals that exist in small amounts in the cattle’s body naturally, and I looked at the effect it had on the pregnancy and conception rates of these AI cows and ET recipients,” Shike said. “I started this project in November 2020 and then I competed and finished the paper this past winter and from then to now, I’ve been learning more about my project and analyzing the results.”

Shike knows what major she wants to pursue in college, but beyond that, she isn’t sure what specific field she wants to make a career in.

“There’s a lot of ag fields that interest me,” Shike said. “I’ve actually grown up mostly in the swine industry, so I am definitely interested in pursuing a career in the swine industry. But after doing this project, I am a lot more interested in embryology, but also like cattle research, so I’ve got a lot of fields to decide between, but I am definitely going to pursue animal science in college.”

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