By Victoria Arredondo
Madison Hightower, an adviser of the program, said Natalia’s FFA is involved in many livestock shows across Texas where students show their animals to be judged. These animals must be registered by the state to compete.
“These pigs are judged on their bone and muscle mass, and will eventually make their way in the food market,” Hightower wrote in a statement to the Devine News Sept. 2.
Students also participate in livestock shows such as the district’s most popular, Medina County Junior Livestock Show, during the last week of January.
“Most of our students show breeding gilts or female pigs, but they also show market barrows, market and breeding goats, market sheep, poultry and breeding cattle,” Hightower said.
A lot of maintenance is required of the animal before students can display them in livestock shows.
Students receive their animals when the animal is just a few months old. Students spend a lot of time feeding them in the morning and afternoon, and walking them daily. Students must also ensure their animal is healthy and taught how to participate in the show ring, which must be practiced daily so that their animal performs best.
The FFA program aims to help students acquire skills that are necessary in any career path setting. Those skills include patience, time management and critical thinking. Whether students choose this as their career path, the hard work that is put into it helps students gain a sense of responsibility.
“The skills learned throughout a student’s time in FFA (are) critical for their future,” Hightower said. “A lot of people think that FFA is just raising an animal, but there are so many more opportunities for students in FFA.”