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COLUMN: Ag extension agent says ‘the kids are alright’

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Spencer County showcased during recent FFA convention

By Bryce Roberts

You may have noticed many extra school and tour buses driving around the Louisville area a couple of weeks ago.  That was because the National FFA Convention was back in Louisville again.

I would like to congratulate the Spencer County FFA Chapter for their National Winners in Farm Management and Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management Career Development Events.  The Dairy Cattle Evaluation team consists of Tyler Goodlett, Caleb Fulkerson, Andrew Krueger, and Shelby West.  The Farm Management Team members include Jacob Barnett, Daniel Cooper, James Nichols, and Rachel Sibert.  Congratulations on a job well done.  You not only represent Spencer County High School well, but you also represent Spencer County and the state of Kentucky well.
Although I didn’t attend the convention in Louisville, I did serve as an interviewer for the Forestry Career Development event held at Bernheim Forest.  I spent my morning listening and talking with FFA members from all across the United States.  I spoke to young men and women from Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, and Washington State.
The students had to give a 10 minute speech on a topic that was given to them just 10 minutes in advance.  Talk about pressure.  All of the young men and women handled themselves very politely and professionally.  I was impressed with all of them.
The next day, I had the privilege of setting up a tour of Spencer County for 2 schools from Missouri.  They were from Pierce City and Monett, MO.  They were excellent ambassadors for the future of agriculture.
We started our tour with a trip to the Scott Travis farm.  Scott provided some insight into tobacco production, something that they do not have in the southwest corner of Missouri.  He spoke of the good and bad of tobacco production and showed them how tobacco is grown and harvested.
We then made a stop at the farm of Patrick and Leeta Kennedy where Patrick talked about his cheese production.  He discussed how he got into the cheesemaking business and the ups and downs he’s had with his operation.
At both stops, these students were interested in what Patrick and Scott were discussing.  They also asked intelligent questions and seemed to enjoy learning about new ventures that they were not familiar with.
In my position, I get to work with many of our youth through our 4-H program, which is led by Mollie Tichenor.  It is certainly refreshing to see our youth taking an interest in agriculture, although it certainly isn’t the agriculture of our forefathers.  Today’s students are adapting to change just like we all have had to do.  I do think that for the most part, the kids are alright and our future looks bright in their hands.    
Feel free to contact me at your Spencer County Cooperative Extension Service at 477-2217 or you can email me at broberts@uky.edu.  You can visit the Spencer County Extension Services’ website at www.spencerextension.com.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.