FFA students learn animal care firsthand

FFA+students+stand+beside+their+goats+at+a+stock+show.

FFA students stand beside their goats at a stock show.

Ronav Aviur

The Future Farmers of America (FFA) is a national organization and club​​ that aims to build leadership and responsibility in ​​students through agricultural education.

Students participate in multiple activities involving agriculture, including taking care of animals for stock shows. 

Kassandra Klakamp, the FFA teacher at Independence High School (IHS), details the students’ involvement with the animals. 

“For animals like chickens and rabbits, students take care of them in their homes,” Klakamp said. “But other animals like steers, heifers, pigs, goats, and lambs are kept at the Frisco ISD agriculture barn, and each student has their own pen where their animals live. Students are responsible for going there at least twice a day.”

Liliana Hunt,  junior and the president of the IHS chapter of FFA, talks about her involvement with the animals.

“Besides helping lead different meetings and events we have, I also raise pigs,” Hunt said. “I visit the barn twice every day and spend about two hours there every evening.”

 

FFA president Liliana Hunt poses for a picture with her pig at a stock show.

The students spend a lot of time taking care of the animals, which eventually get sold as livestock at market.

“I think our animals live a more comfortable life with us than they would on a farm,” Klakamp said. “But the main goal is for them to be sold at market.”

Klakamp talks about the incentive for letting students take care of  animals.

“One of the main motivations for students to own livestock animals is just to show some responsibility,” she said. “They’re the ones responsible for feeding and exercising the animals, so it requires a lot of hard work and responsibility from the students.” 

Additionally, Klakamp hopes that the students’ involvement with the animals will help them learn teamwork.

“Although stock shows require mostly individual work from the students, teamwork is a crucial part in helping each one of them do what they are doing correctly,” she said. “By building these teamwork skills, each student will know their role at stock shows and will be able to help each other out if need be.”

Hunt talks about how she has benefited from taking care of the animals. 

“I love taking care of the animals,” she said. “In a way I’m the pigs’ mother, which means that I am responsible for them in every way. I have grown so much as a person since I first started taking care of them, it’s incredible.”