River Road FFA
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Stock Shows

Winning at the livestock show is not the only reason for a student to raise an FFA project animal.

Many times parents consider FFA livestock projects a failure if their son or daughter does not win at the show. We need to understand the all benefits our students gain from raising and showing livestock.

Ideally, FFA project animals will be a family affair. If time and energy are spent by the students and parents together, these projects will help our kids learn basic life skills that will eventually help them develop into better citizens.

Very few FFA livestock projects are economically profitable. However, neither are paying for band lessons, taking them to summer recreation programs, buying them bicycles and paying for other youth activities. But if a parent's goal is to invest in their child's develop as a person, learn responsibility, set goals and gain knowledge of livestock production, then FFA livestock projects are profitable investments in their child's future.

Keeping livestock shows in proper perspective is important. They are not cow shows, swine shows or goat shows, they are "Kid Shows ! "   The animal is simply the ticket for the youngster to participate.

As we analyze all the new and innovative ideas, many of which are quite sound and very excellent methods, we find FFA livestock projects are one of the oldest and greatest teaching tools that we have to teach students the life skills they need.

Following are " Life Skills " that FFA livestock project students gain:

  1. How to get along with people.   A large number of people in society quit or lose their jobs because they cannot get along with others. FFA students who show livestock are around people they have never met but have similar interests. They learn to communicate with these people. 

  2. Sportsmanship.   At a livestock show, there is only one Grand Champion. However, there are many winners. FFA students who show livestock for any period of time usually experience the extreme high feeling of an exceptional effort and the extreme disappointment of a project that didn't turn out as well as was expected. Normally, win or lose, the competitors in the show ring ( the FFA students ) can be seen after the show talking and enjoying life together. 

  3. Responsibility.   Feeding and daily chores in a FFA livestock project teach responsibility. Top feeders follow the time clock in their daily efforts. This is a good habit to start at a young age and may reap youngster’s substantial benefits in a career later in their lives. 

  4. Attend to details.   Most young people take care of major items in a FFA livestock project like fencing, feeding, etc. However many times it's the little things that make a different: keeping water tanks and feed troughs clean, working on grooming and showmanship several months before the show, keeping pens clean and close observation for sickness and disease. Paying attention to details is beneficial in almost everything we do in life. 

  5. Decision making.   Decision making is never easy at any point in our lives. FFA livestock projects require several key decisions be made: selection of project animals, selection of feeding method, care and management decisions, fitting and grooming techniques, etc. 

  6. Goal setting.   For every successful FFA livestock project, there is usually a good plan. Most details and plans for the project on selection, feeding and management of the project have been planned well in advance. Goal setting is important for everyone regardless of future endeavors. Are FFA livestock projects successful? We may hear some negative things about them but these projects are a long way ahead of whatever is in second place in helping teach our young people to adjust to life. Next time you are at a livestock show, study the kids instead of the animals. You will notice that most classes have several winners, not just the one standing in first place


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