Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

Burns High School FFA


October 26, 2017

Courtesy of Shelly Humphrey

Members of the Burns High School FFA chapter 2016-2017.

On Sunday October 22 the Burns chapter of FFA (Future Farmers of America) will be headed to Indianapolis to compete in the National FFA Convention. Mr Craig Spatz, Burns area FFA advisor was very excited about taking the freshman and sophomores this year.

In 1969 girls were allowed to be members of the FFA, which is one of the best things that was ever done and then in 2001 or 2002 was when junior high students were allowed to join. One of the things that Spatz feels is important, " a student is not allowed to be in FFA (an inter-curricular activity) with out being in an agriculture class to learn and get the basics. The FFA has extremely high expectations for their members, the image they portray is the image that people get of the FFA. FFA does not only teach the student about farming and ranching, but about public speaking. The FFA creed is 5 paragraphs that includes the beliefs and what is wanted out of the FFA. In order for members to receive their Green Hand Degree, they have to memorize and recite the Creed in a local creed contest. Winners of the local contest go on to the FFA district contest. The hope is to make it easier for the students to be adult speakers.

In preparations of these competitions the 103 students (8th grade through seniors) work at least one hour every morning in the Agricultural education classes on the different competitions, along with 80 FFA members including graduate members. A lot of time is spent on CDE (Career Development Events) which use to be what was known as "judging contests." The hope is the students can take what they have learned through the CDE to determine what they want to do with there lives. Spatz said " He is one of the luckiest teachers because he works with some of the the best students."

Spatz has been teaching Agricultural educations for over 30 years and a former member of the FFA himself. He not only teaches, but learns from the students as well. Spatz feels that agriculture is so broad that there is no ag teacher that can know everything about it. One of the most important things that Spatz hopes the students take away from the Ag classes and FFA is that it is no longer "cow, plows, and sows." Which all goes back to production agricultural or production farming. Spatz shares " there is so many jobs out there that is included with agricultural that is not realized. Approximately 24% of people in the United States are employed in some form of agriculture, but only about 2% is actually farm and ranching." The take on that is that from the time it hits the ground, be it a new calf or a seed being planted, until it hits your plate those are all jobs that are involved in agriculture. It is Spatz feeling that if you do not come from a family that is already in the farm or ranching business, you will probably never own a farm or ranch do to economics; unless of course you "win" the lottery. There is still jobs available in the ag business that can be just as fulfilling, like farm managers, meat inspector with the USDA, veterinary clinic and ag mechanics as well as more. It is also a hope that when the students graduate and go on to college, specializing in agriculture, they figure out how they want to work in farming and ranching industry. Spatz's take on the live stock is "hands on," he shares with his students "Until your are with your livestock feeding, caring for or farrowing them out, you do not know livestock."

The newer technology in agriculture is going to help with the growing populations even though there are less farmers and less farm ground to work. There is not anyone more concerned with the care of animals are the farmers or rancher; because if they don't take care of their animals they don't make money.

Spratz lives on the family farm, himself, that was homesteaded by his great, great granddad in 1908. In his younger days he raised sheep and showed lambs; however now teaching ag keeps him so busy that he does not have time for farming. Their land is in grass, and they lease it out, so it is nice to see that there is still some agriculture being done on the family farm.


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