I had the option to go out and visit the Terrell ISD FFA program that is in Terrell High School. I grew up in the state of Washington and was part of 4-H for years. There are some big key differences between the two which allows FFA to have a pretty incredible impact on not only the kids involved in the program, but all kids in Texas schools.
When I drove onto campus, I was shocked to see the barn and the pasture for the program attached to the school. It may sound ridiculous, but growing up in Washington, we did not have the 4-H barn with animals in it on campus. It just felt so cool and so Texas to pull up to a school and see a pasture full of Texas longhorn cattle.
The kids in the Terrell FFA program of course should me their barns and I got to meet some of their awesome animals as they got them all ready for the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, some of which are going just for competition and some for auction. One of which was Bonchito, who is a beautiful longhorn with the rare set of horns that slopes down like a cool medieval viking, who is known for putting his horns out the open air slots in the livestock trailer when he cruises from one show to another.
I have to admit, there seems like nothing cooler and nothing more Texas than having a pasture full of cattle surrounding the outfield of the Terrell HS field. I just imagine the movie the sandlot where every home run hit stays over the fence. I doubt too many people have the courage to run into Bonchito’s field to grab a baseball.
I also got to meet a great little longhorn calf named Buddy who was born in September. His mom didn’t survive the birth so he has been raised by the kids. Out of something so sad, what an amazing lesson for the kids who helped raise him from a tiny baby. I for one feel that there should be a baby longhorn named Buddy.
Here is the aspect that I found to be so special for the kids of Texas… The embracing of farm culture and lifestyle. It was so cool to see the collaboration between the students, teachers, parents and administration staff at Terrell High School to help all their kids either learn about leadership and agriculture as FFA participants, or just learn to appreciate agriculture as a student of the school not in the program but being exposed to it daily on campus.
There is a disconnect in this country with many people about the work and effort that goes into farming and agriculture for the food that we all eat. I think FFA programs in Texas high schools help bridge that divide so that everyone is exposed to the work and impact of quality agriculture, even if it just playing baseball and trying to hit home runs into Bonchito’s pasture. The lasting impact and the value for all kids exposed to the FFA programs at schools is great… How could you have a bad day at school with Buddy the baby longhorn in a pasture you see driving into school every day.