Hopewell Middle School student Hunter Chambers placed first in class in the market swine competition at the Williamson County Youth Expo in Georgetown earlier this month, as part of the Stony Point High School Junior FFA program.
Hunter was among an elite few who made a sale at the event. The Expo is open to all National FFA Organization, formerly Future Farmers of America, students in Williamson County. The National FFA Organization is open to students interested in agriculture and leadership.
“Junior FFA programs like the ones we have at Stony Point and McNeil high schools allow our younger students to begin their participation in elementary and middle school, rather than waiting for high school,” said Sheri Bonds, director of career and technical education. “It’s a great opportunity for them to be involved in agriculture and foster their leadership skills.”
Hunter is one of four members of the Junior FFA program offered at Stony Point High School. Being a part of the Junior FFA program allows students to use Stony Point facilities and learn from high school teachers and students. The program is available to all middle school students in RRISD. Students and administrators develop a plan for participation on a case by case basis.
“I’ve learned great responsibility with taking care of my pig,” Hunter said. “If I don’t feed him the right diet, he may not do well in show. So I’ve learned to be dependable, and I’ve earned the trust of others.”
One of the unique features of the Stony Point property is its three acres of land available for students to raise their animals as well as a 14,000 square-foot barn that can hold up to 90 animals. The barn and land afford students without acreage the opportunity to participate in programs that would otherwise be unavailable.
“FFA and the ag science program in high schools give students the opportunity to learn real world application and hands-on learning desired in today’s job market,” said Glenn Clinard, Stony Point Agriculture teacher. “One in five jobs in the US economy is related to agriculture; we know not every student is going to become a farmer or rancher but chances are they might have a job that relates to agriculture. Even if the student isn’t employed in the agriculture industry, they will be involved because they are consumers of agricultural products.”
Hunter and his sister, Allison Chambers, both have animals in the Stony Point agriculture barn. Allison is a Stony Point junior working towards her assistant veterinary technician certification. Both students agree that they would not have been able to raise and show their animals without the facilities and programs offered at Stony Point.
“Being in the program and using the barn has helped a lot because I live in a neighborhood and I can’t have my pig at home,” Hunter said. “Mr. Clinard has helped me take care of my pig and so has my sister, who is in FFA at Stony Point.It’s really a nice facility and it allows me to reach my top potential, not only as a show person but as a student and an athlete too.”
Along with Hunter’s success, the following students also were named finalists at the Williamson County Expo:
Emily Wolf 1st Place Dorper Lamb, Class 2
Erin Copeland 2nd place Class 4 market goat
Elizabeth Brinnel 1st place Class 4 Dark OPB
David Solis 2nd place Class 6 Duroc and Reserve Breed Champion
Mari Capuchino 2nd place Class 3 Commercial gilt
David Solis 1st place Class 9 Duroc
Ethan Minchew 2nd place Class 13 Hampshire
Allison Chambers 1st place Class 14 Hampshire
Bo Cates 2nd place Class 14 Hampshire
Bo Cates 2nd place Class 24 Crossbred
Hunter Chambers 1st place Class 25 Crossbred
Diego Baldonado 2nd place Class 26 Crossbred