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FFA attends Greater Leander Project Show Auction

Harshita Avirneni and Claire Lawrence

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Six FFA students participated in the Greater Leander Project Show Auction on Jan. 20. Students went up in front of a group of community supporters and buyers that bid on their projects. There were 119 sale slots for all of Leader ISD. Cattle, pigs, lambs and goats were all exhibited at the show. In previous stock shows, their animals placed at a high enough level to be able to move on and have community members bid on their animals.

“We had eight students that entered livestock or projects and six made the sale,” FFA sponsor Magan Escamilla said. “The top 35 percent of all the livestock entries and projects entries are the ones that make the sale. It is a ribbon sale, so they aren’t actually selling the animal itself or the project itself.”

Contrary to what many think, the students aren’t actually selling their animals. The biddings support the students in their efforts for agriculture education and FFA. The people who bid range from company sponsors to friends and family.

“It’s good to see those kids supported by our alumni association,” Escamilla said. “They fundraise throughout the year and they work on creating a budget to support our kids. They also invite different community members or if they know someone with a company to come bid. There is also an opportunity for different people to add on different amounts. Each thing sold a little bit differently amount wise because we have it on a tiered system based on how well they did.”

The money bidded on the projects can go towards scholarships for the students. FFA students like junior Camille Barkhuizen and sophomore Michael Maher enjoy working with animals and are glad there is an opportunity to do projects like this.

“I never expected to be here,” Maher said. “It was much better than I expected. When I made sale last year it was an incredible surprise. It’s a great feeling to be honored at this level. It’s a great opportunity.”

When students first get their animals they have to go through bonding and trust exercises to insure they can perform at stock shows together. They often travel to Cedar Park, where the barn is located, to train for events and take care of their livestock.

“I personally put in a lot of effort into working with my animals, whether that be going out to work with them or grooming them and making sure they look nice,” Barkhuizen said. “Bonding with them to make sure that they can trust me in a show ring and that I can make sure they stay calm while being around other show animals is important.”

Barkhuizen said that this opportunity means a lot to her because she enjoys raising the livestock and working with animals. She also said it is exciting because she gets to learn so many different things and gets to bond with people who are diverse and have a similar interest.

“A lot of classes in the school, like Geometry and history, are good classes to learn things, but agriculture classes allow us to do these projects are very nice,” Maher said. “ It’s very meaningful and great practice for skills you can use later on in life.”

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FFA attends Greater Leander Project Show Auction