I am writing to you as a sixth generation Nevada County resident and the parent of a local FFA student. My concern lies in the article published in your paper “Panda’s New Life,” that portrayed the FFA organization and youth in Agriculture in an unsavory and one-sided light.
The insinuation that the FFA is an obsolete and useless organization in today’s agricultural industry is absurd and the assertion that “FFA doesn’t teach students about how farming is done. It’s all factory farms, except for a few small farms,” is shortsighted and frankly false “information.”
According to the USDA, “The vast majority of farms and ranches in the United States are family owned and operated — in fact, 96 percent of the 2.2 million farms in the United States are family farms.”
The kids involved in FFA are learning about livestock production, land and water resources management, ag sales, livestock (food) industry trends, as well as occupations in ag mechanics (welding and construction) and much more. This organization encourages leadership and responsibility in today’s youth. Many are outstanding public speakers and future business leaders from their experiences on Parliamentary Procedure teams and individual speaking competitions, just to name a few.
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to raise market animals by the standards set forth by the SAE advisors and the FFA as a whole. Our animals are well-fed, immaculately cared for, and shown a great deal of compassion in their handling.
Those are not qualities that will be found on feed lots or “factory farms” across this nation or anywhere else.
We believe in quality of life for the animals we raise, we believe in a clean local food supply, and knowing where and how our food is grown. Despite the timing of the article, a week and a half before the sale, the good news for these kids is we have a great community that believes the same way we do.
They are willing to support these kids agricultural pursuits to the tune of a half million dollars in sales annually.
I find it unsettling that The Union allowed an article that included untruths, half-truths, and personal opinion to be printed and sent out as a news story. I believe The Union owes the public a fair and balanced article based on facts about youth in agriculture and the FFA.