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Three Charmers take on FFA

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Logans Richardson’s pet pig, Peanut, at the FFA competition.

Mollie Sladovnik

On game nights, making it to the barn might mean a late night trip for three Charmers and FFA members.
The Future Farmers of America, a club available to those who take agriculture classes, gives members like Jada Johnson, Logan Richardson and Mia Moreno the opportunity to raise either a pig or goat and enter them into a competition.
For some, FFA is a way of preparing for future careers.
“I got involved because I always wanted to be a vet, and so anything that was animal-related, I took. So I took all the Ag classes, and then when I was in Ag, they brought up FFA and I was like ‘I mean, who wouldn’t want a goat,’” junior Johnson said.
For others, FFA is just sounded interesting.
“I got involved because I was picking my classes for freshman yeah and I was like ‘This one’s fun,,” sophomore Moreno said.
For Richardson, a junior, FFA involvement meant carrying on a legacy. Her mother competed in FFA as well.
In the annual show March 4, Richardson’s pig earned fifth place.
“This year I got really attached because she was the perfect pig. She didn’t have any problems, I didn’t have to diet her, she didn’t have any health problems, she just went straight into show and placed,” Richardson said.
After their show, animals that place are auctioned off while animals that didn’t are sold to the slaughterhouse. Attachment to the animal may lead to an emotional goodbye.
“My freshman year, I cried. Hard,” Johnson said. “But since then, I know I’m not keeping this goat forever, so every year gets better.”
Although Johnson has found a way to avoid the tears, she said that isn’t the case for everyone.
“Because you do create a relationship with an animal you have to take care of,” she said.
Although the student receives money whenever they sell or auction off their animal, it’s not usually enough to compensate for the amount of money spent in the months leading up to the show.
Richardson said, “I get all the money but I had to buy food and shavings and all the utensils I needed for her, and I had to buy her too, but I did get a little bit of profit this year. I got like $100 worth of profit.”
Animal owners keep their pig or goat in the district stables, and visit there every day.
“It’s a lot of work, and it’s time consuming,” Richardson said, “Especially with everything else that goes on, because I have Charmers and I have her and I have a job and school. So it’s just a lot of work. And you do have to go up there every day to feed and take care of your animal and change their shavings and deal with her poop and all that stuff. It’s definitely a commitment. It’s like having a little kid you have to take care of.”
For the three Charmers, FFA and dance provide distinct offerings.
Johnson said, “It’s definitely different because Charmers is bright and flashy and then FFA is like ‘Oh there’s an FFA? You can do that?’”