The Lariat

A Look Into FFA

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A Look Into FFA

Erika Sykes

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Everyone at some point in their childhood has had an inclination to take care of a baby animal. Puppy, pig, cow, a horse- it’s practically a right of passage. Where we dreamed it, FFA lives it. That’s right. FFA is living out all of our childhood dreams; however, the responsibilities that come with taking care of another living being is a reality for them that our five and seven year old selves were blissfully ignorant of.

Several FFA students recently competed at the largest livestock show in the world, The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. These students spent hours every day preparing for this huge stage.

“Student preparation begins on the day they get their animal project. For cattle, that means beginning around June, and Swine around October,” FFA teacher Ms. Hults said. “The daily routine includes feeding, walking, and bathing/grooming, which amounts to approximately 2-3 hours each day.”

With show season comes many exciting opportunities for FFA students. These months make it especially worth it for all who participate in animal projects.

“I look forward to traveling all over the state and meeting new people in every city,” Senior Jessica Rogers said. “I also love the competitiveness of showing.”

Taking on an animal project through FFA is a very big commitment for a student in high school. Although it takes tremendous work, the students can attest to the rewards that come with the undertaking.

“I have learned an overwhelming amount about community and that it takes responsibility and dedication to care for another live being other than myself,” Junior Emma Cowan said. “I have also learned a tremendous amount about livestock production and farm management.”

This program also extends a warm community within itself which acts as a hub for friendships. Programs such as these create an identity for us high schoolers.

“FFA has impacted my high school experience by bringing me out of my comfort zones and creating bonds with people i’d never thought I’d talk to,” Cowan said.

The advisors Mr. Reifel and Ms. Hults offer valuable leadership and insight into the livestock market and career. They also form immeasurable bonds with students which enhances the aspect of community.

“One of my favorite things about FFA is my teachers. Reifel and Hults are so genuine and caring and can make me laugh all day long,” Cowan said. “The benefit of that is that I not only have a teacher but a lifelong friend.”

FFA provides a wonderful base to prepare it’s students for not only a career in agriculture, but also skills that can be useful in any field.

“We hope that every student that goes through our program graduates with enhanced leadership and public speaking skills and also develop skills such as time management, record book keeping, and a strong work ethic,” Hults said.

Although it’s easy to imagine the care of an animal as minute and virtually easy, these students prove everyday that the care and dedication they provide to this program and to their animals is anything but easy, but definitely one hundred percent worth it.

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