FFA places at Greater Leander ISD show



Students (left to right) Zach Sagebiel , Bryce Howsey, Madeleine Rawlings, Camille Barkhuizen, and Zach Roush pose for picture after placing in the cattle show.

FFA took home high ranking awards during the Greater Leander ISD Livestock Show on Jan. 26 at Cedar Park High School.  Senior Zach Sagebiel won Grand Champion in the cattle show and first in class with his hand made a fire pit in the project entries category. Senior Katie Butz won second, third, and fourth place in the pig show with her guilts securing a spot in the auction.

“I have guilts which are female pigs, so the judge would mainly be looking for bigger, fattier pigs,” Butz said. “Mine are made for breeding so he mainly just looks for the body shape and the structure and fat.”

Only seven students participated in the livestock show on Jan. 26. These students must travel daily to the barn located in Cedar Park to feed and train their animals.

“(The Great Leander Competition) went really well,” agriculture teacher and FFA sponsor Megan Escamilla said. “We have a really small group of students that are showing livestock just because our barn is so far away.”

Although students have a wide array of support systems within FFA, with teachers such as Escamilla and Lemmons both looking over the students in case they need to be staired in the right direction. FFA students are usually relied on to do their part with intention and responsibility.

“One thing is that when you’re competing against a lot of good breeds they’re genetically bred to be like the best so it’s hard. You have to make sure that you’re exercising them to where they have the best muscular structure,” Zach Sagebiel, first place cattle show winner, said. “Because it’s kind of hard to when you have a bad calf. Other than that, I think you just have to pay so much. It’s a lot of money to feed them, like going through 50 pounds of feed in like two days it’s a lot of money.”

Taking care of another life form takes a lot of careful attention. Escamilla has said that the animals are dependent on the students to keep them alive. The students are given the responsibility of walking, grooming, and also feeding their animals sufficiently, preparing them for livestock shows and overall, sales. The animals need to be well behaved as well when it comes to their shows, and so the students must also find ways to train their animal to be obedient in the ring.

“Myself and Mr. Lemmons are really their as support so we kind of guide students in the correct direction whether they need veterinary care or adjustments to their feed or adjustment to grooming or maybe even adjustments to management aspect,” Escamilla said. “Sometimes the cattle or hogs or whatever they’re working with, can be hard to train and so we have to be able to coach and guide them into ways to where they can have an animal that’s manageable in the ring and that’s well behaved that can be shown easily.”

Currently, the students are working on going to Career Development Events, or CDE’s. FFA is not only known for their livestock but also introducing students to the real life career fields that they want to pursue. By participating in events such as CDE’s and Live Stock shows students are introduced to a very strong form of work ethic and responsibility. Student’s also are able to make money from their winnings. Specifically in livestock shows, if a hog or cattle places high they are moved into a section for sale.

“I’m doing the wildlife team,” Sagebiel said. “Wildlife team is mainly like if you were to be going into a wildlife biology career. We have to identify plants, know what to do when a population of animals is down or what to do to decrease populations. I think it just kind of prepares us for an actual wildlife biologist career and things like property management.”