Tuesday, August 5, 2014

4-H And FFA

You have heard me say I got my start in 4-H and advanced it in FFA.  I can't say it better than my friend Russ in Idaho did in the Café.

"After reading St. George Guys thought on 4-H and how in his feelings, it is a scam. Well I'm here to tell you that 4-H and FFA are two of the most rewarding programs for the cost of them for our new generation of kids. First and foremost the one statement I would like to say is I've never seen kids that are involved in those two programs having to be enrolled into rehab. So that there is a win in my book. It teaches compassion, caring for animals, respect for others, willingness to help other people, and also life skills to be able to function in life.

Sorry Mr. St. George Guy you must have had bad experience's with you or your kids at the fair. But let me tell another side of showing animals at the fair and markets sales. My boys and as well as my wife and I were involved in those programs. It is a family thing, we don't get to take family vacations as it is tough to get away from dairy and beef cattle operation, plus haying season. So it is what we do as a family. I've always funded my kids projects, by either buying their lambs or letting them pick calves from our herd. I pay for the feed, and kids get all proceeds' from the sale of their animals. Yes mom and dad helped in the early years when kids where small, but as they growed up they learned to handle their own animals. They do most all the work themselves. It isn't mom and dad doing all of it.

Our ranch and dairy is built on the blood and sweat and tears of over a 133 years of family tradition of raising livestock and crops. Everybody works together to produce a crop be it a 10 year old kid or a 80 year old. If we need to help a school age kid learn these life lessons so be it.

I will agree some of the market sales have been flooded with show ring jockey animals that parents have bought trying to make Johnny or Suzie Grand Champion. You will always have that, even in sports at school. So is it right to pull your kids from the program, because of this? This is one of those life lessons that is taught from this program, that life isn't fair. That you have to make your own destiny. And some business will pay some pretty high prices to these kids for their projects. Well if these business choose to spend their money that way so be it! It is their dollars, just like you have a choice to boycott their business if you so choose.

I'm glad that these businesses choose to support our youth this way, plus it gives them advertising. I know I choose to support businesses that support 4-H and FFA kids. They are investing in my kids as well as others futures so I will invest in their business and bottom line.

My boys have never had Grand, one boy got reserve champion one year, most years my boys that been in the top 10 or 20 in the sale. I think that says a lot of our cattle program! We don't breed for sale jockey cattle, we breed for our commercial herd. I will never forget the judge asking my middle boy last year in the ring how much his steer weighed and daily gain. Well my boy also told him how he fed steer a gain ration per % of body weight and his daily gain. It blowed the judge away! The judged turned to the crowd after judging and gave his reasons for placement of steers in the class, he then commented on my sons answers to his questions. The judged was very impressed with my sons answers, and told the crowd that this boy was the future of production agriculture, and their wasn't any doubt in his mind that my boy wouldn't be able to handle any task put before him later in life. My son made the family very proud that day! My boy hadn't been schooled to give that answer, he knew it from living, feeding, showing his animals.

Yes our market sale gets some very high prices, but their is a group of parents & businesses (I'm one) that make sure all kids get a good respectable price for animals. If a kids animal was a little low in price some people will boost all steers, or lambs, or hogs to a upper limit just under champions. That way kids get their projects paid for, and pocket some money for savings. I also buy for businesses that I deal with, they can't be there so I will buy a kids project that isn't getting a lot of bids, I also run a lot of them up and make people pay more for them. I then add boost money on kids if they have earned it in my mind. I don't boost or buy kids projects that mommy or daddy does 100% of the work for them. Our dairy buys a several animals at the fair as well.

A few years ago a CIH dealer bought my sons lamb, I had only bought a few parts over the years there. It got to be a bidding war on this lamb, they run it to over $1,400. I went up after the sale and thanked the salesman and told him he didn't need to run that lamb like that, it brought just about what my niece's Grand Champion lamb brought that day. Well the salesman explained he had watched all my boys over the years sell animals and he had watched them do their own work at the fair. He was determined to buy this lamb because of it, in the previous years he couldn't get one bought as everybody ran him on them. He told me his company was investing in agriculture and my kids were the future. And yes I've since purchased a major piece of equipment their since.

I've been free with my dollars at the sale, because I tell you that when a kid comes up to me after the sale and hugs me and gives me a gift basket or a cold drink with a hand written thank you note, it tugs at my soul. That's what 4-H and FFA is all about. I'm investing in those kids, I hoping they make it a better world for me in my older age.

The one requirement my wife and I made with our kids is that after their animal sold they were to take the buyer and their spouse a cold drink and sit down and give them a handshake thanking them for buying that day. My kids have always stayed and talked to their buyers after. Then when things settled down they prepared a gift basket and a thank you letter and delivered to the buyers. I've bought a lot of kids projects that never even gave me the time of day after. But those kids that do, and when I see them later in life I always make it a point to talk to them. And if I can help them in anyway I will.

Edited by Russ In Idaho 8/3/2014 21:50

Thanks Russ, for another great post!

Ed Winkle

No comments:

Post a Comment