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FFA raises livestock, earns money for college, program

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FFA raises livestock, earns money for college, program

Sophomore Alejandro Santos shows a market goat

Sophomore Alejandro Santos shows a market goat

courtesy to FFA

Sophomore Alejandro Santos shows a market goat

courtesy to FFA

courtesy to FFA

Sophomore Alejandro Santos shows a market goat

Jon Garza, Life & Style Editor

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The Future Farmers of America (FFA) is a program to support agricultural education for students who are seeking an agricultural career.

The program teaches students how to raise livestock and grow plants to sell, Many of the students in the program have worked with livestock since they were little kids as it was passed down to them as a family tradition. while for others, it is an entirely new experience.

The practice of raising livestock is a conflicting experience for some students who tend to grown fond of their animals. Livestock animals are not pets and owners have to avoid creating any form of emotional attachment, knowing that they will eventually sell their livestock for slaughter.

Senior Jenna Thorton, a third-generation FFA member, shared some of her favorite stories, like the time one of her steers got loose during one of the shows.

“But my favorite story of all time was the time I placed first in a class of 63 steers at San Antonio,” she said. “It was definitely one of my favorite moments. the best feeling in the world.”

Raising livestock comes with great responsibilities. To have a healthy animal, caregivers must clean their pen, feed, and water them twice a day. is along with exercise helps manage the amount of muscle and fat the animals develop. Owners must also wash their animals and make sure that their skin is well-cared for. The goal of raising a livestock animal is to have the best looking, best-tasting one.

The students have to treat their livestock more as a way to make a port rather than a pet. Having to know that their animals will go to markets and will most likely be used for consumption.

Junior Elisabeth Allbritton, an FFA member since 6th grade said, raising an animal is “definitely a strange mix between pet and project.”

“Of course, when you spend so much time with them every day, you get a bit attached,” she said. “But at the end of the day, they’re livestock animals.”

The relationship between animal and caregiver can also be important to have the confidence and ability to win a stock show, Thorton said.

“The way I see my relationship with my animals is as a partnership,” she said. “When we enter the ring at a stock show, it’s the two of us against the world.

This confidence can come a long way in these stock shows. Students raise their livestock for months in order to sell them in the show’s auctions. Here students can earn money from their livestock to use for their next year’s projects, or for college expenses. Senior, Natalia Perez won 2nd place in the largest livestock show in the world. She won $5,000 to start her college savings.

Tania Dominguez contributed to this story.

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