Clearly the largest visibility FFA, 4-H and Grange kids have locally is at the county fair, where they show up spit shined and polished to market the fruit of their labor. The youth involved in agriculture don’t really commit to long hours of work each year only for the money (especially when they do the return on time and investment math). It’s a love of the lifestyle. Will they all go off and produce food for a hungry world? No, but for almost all of them, this “big toe dipping into the pool of entrepreneurship” is one that grows future plans, community involvement and lifelong gratitude for the generous village that helped raise them.
The statements of those speaking on behalf of Animal Save in last Friday’s article are at the least shortsighted and at the most dare I say- bigoted. A majority of our young adults emerge from their local FFA chapters and 4-H clubs with a work ethic of which Nevada County can be proud. They become givers to society.
I’ve attended the annual California State FFA Conference held in Fresno and can attest to the areas for which that these young, hard-working future citizens have been honored.
• Wildlife Production and Management
• Diversified Crop Production
• Aquaculture production and Management
• Forage Production
• Forest Management and Products
• Outdoor Recreation
• Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production
• Turf Grass Management
• Veterinary Science
• Viticulture- (This is for all you wine lovers)
• Turf Grass Management (Golfers and Soccer players.. take note)
• Nursery Operations
• Landscape Management
• Emerging Agricultural Technology
• Agricultural Communications
• Agricultural Mechanics Energy Systems
• Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance
• Agriscience Plant Systems Research
• Social Sciences Research
And yes of course..
• Livestock Production
I suppose we could go on for days debating the pros and cons surrounding humans eating cows. I’m clearly biased and would argue plentiful science supporting the humble BBQ in our ancestral development or the philosophical question of why it’s perfectly acceptable that foxes eat rabbits, but I digress.
Whether or not one wants to eat meat is an individual decision and all of us who engage in agricultural pursuits respect your decision. We may not agree, but we respect it then promptly plan how to profit from it. We’re happy to “coexist.” I beg of you the same consideration.
Leaving that on the proverbial table for a bit let me address my fellow omnivores out there — consider this: These kids are raising their animals in environments polar opposite to a large “factory farm.” Maybe we could all support these young FFA and 4-H entrepreneurs, either Sunday at the Livestock auction or throughout the year, and not bite the hands that could be feeding you. (Pardon my carnivorous idiom- I couldn’t resist)
Any of these young people will tell you raising an animal is hard work both physically and emotionally. But it’s a rich and maturing experience for them all and I couldn’t be more proud of every last one of them. Support Nevada County Youth in Agriculture!
Robin Guerra is an FFA parent, former Meadowlarks Sheep Project leader, Sierra View Premium Lamb and board member for the Nevada County Youth Ag Boosters.