Like many campuses across our ag rich Valley, Central West has an FAA chapter, where the students are able to get up close and personal, with a variety of animals.
Even though most of their students live in the city, and not on a farm, many of them want to get involved with this hands-on ag program at the school.
Student Sky Jones said, "For me, I have never had like a farm background, and it's just en like, something I've always wanted to do since I was really young, is to live on a farm, and have animals, and I don't know, like, it's just balancing home life in the city and the farm life."
Student Brandi Gourley said, "I didn't expect to get attached to the animal at first, but I did, unfortunately, and then selling it was a big step. But I felt good that I was feeding a family."
There are many life lessons for the students to learn, like managing money. Chris Burton had to come up with $1100 to buy his steer that he named Diablo. "I was real dedicated to doing this. I've been wanting to do this for a couple of years, but I thought the money would be the real hard part. But, looking back on it, it's worth it in the end. I'm hoping, come fair time, he should be big enough to sell and make a good profit," said Chris.
For many years, girls were not allowed to join FFA; it was a boys only club. But all that changed in 1969 and today 70% of all FFA members in California are female, including this year's chapter president, Mallory Cross. "I think that says that women are getting out there, they're becoming just like the boys, you know. They're getting their hands dirty and they're learning new things like the men," said Mallory.
Teacher Jessica Fahey said, "You can ask a lot of students, 'Where does their food come from?' and they say from the grocery store. My kids know that there is a wide range of farmers in our area and around the world, that actually produce this food, and you know, how it gets from the farm to our table to our plate."
Student Robinease McKinley said, "Now I know, there's people here that take their time out of their day, to go there and they feed the animals, they slaughter them, they have to take the milk, there's processing plants, and I'm like - man, it's just amazing."
Maybe we'll be seeing some of these young people and their animals at the Big Fresno Fair this October.
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