By Amelia Bettencourt, Turlock FFA Reporter
At the start of 2021, Turlock FFA members were still anticipating the news as to whether they would be given the opportunity to show at the Stanislaus County Fair. After the modified online livestock auctions and exhibits of 2020, members were anxious to get a sense of normalcy by attending one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. Students were ecstatic when they were given the news in the early spring that they would indeed get the opportunity to show at the fair on a modified schedule.
Throughout the month of July, Turlock FFA members were hard at work exhibiting their fair projects at the Stanislaus County Fair. Turlock FFA had a total of 78 livestock exhibitors this year. The long months of labor on animal projects came to a happy conclusion as members got the opportunity to show off their hard work.
Members were successful in a wide variety of areas, and Turlock FFA brought home numerous awards. Notable achievements of Turlock FFA livestock exhibitors this year include Supreme Champion Registered Heifer, Supreme Champion Registered Cow, 1st Place Advanced Dairy Showmanship, 1st Place Advanced Beef Showmanship, and Reserve Supreme Champion Market Hog. Additionally, the Turlock High ag mechanics group brought home five Best of Division awards and the Overall Chapter Group award.
All this recognition would not go overlooked by Turlock’s generous supporters. The ribbons and awards were not the only thing that made the fair so special for Turlock FFA exhibitors because every year ag students are met with an overwhelming amount of support from the community on their projects. Many local businesses generously gift students donations or support them in the auction, allowing them to sustain their projects financially.
The combination of support from the community and the Turlock FFA program sets students up for a meaningful experience with their projects. Jasmine Sanchez, a first-year market lamb exhibitor, says that raising her lamb helped her “learn to be more responsible by training daily with her animal.”
This is a common experience among FFA exhibitors such as Skye Diaz, first year market goat exhibitor who adds, “From my experience I learned the skills of time management, patience, and dedication.”
Skye also mentioned that she was inspired by an agriculture teacher to try showing livestock, and after her experience this year she will continue showing for the rest of high school. Ms. Hamilton, Turlock FFA swine advisor, explains her love for the livestock program: “Each student has a different goal with their project; what I look forward to each year is seeing students reach that goal and learn something new. I also love seeing the students interact with their animal projects and develop working relationships.”
The combined enthusiasm from ag advisors, community supporters, and students creates an atmosphere that allows FFA members to strengthen their skillset and provide funds for investing in the next year’s project at the same time.
In the next six months Turlock FFA members will begin selecting next year’s projects and the process will start over again for the 2022 fair.