A big, practical win

Published 3:21 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2019

We would like to take a moment to express great pride in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) team from Randolph-Henry High School, which recently participated in a full day of competition and emerged victorious against schools from around the region in the Southern Piedmont Regional Youth Cattle Working Competition.
With the win, the Statesmen advanced to the state-level contest in Harrisonburg on April 19.
Many may not know exactly what it is that these Randolph-Henry students did to achieve this win, but Staff Writer Noel Oliver shed light on this in a recent Farmville Newsmedia LLC article.

He cited a press release that stated that “the contest was comprised of two different parts; completing a cattle processing plan and working three calves. While preparing for the contest, participants learned about cattle vaccines and how to read the labels of the medicines. Participants also had to ear tag cattle and administer vaccines and dewormer. Safe handling of cattle and proper techniques were a part of the criteria for the contest. This contest is based around contestants learning proper cattle handling practices that is taught through the Beef Quality Assurance Program.”

Some competitions in different sports create obviously manufactured scenarios that only nod in some faint way to their real-life counterparts, but in Oliver’s article, Randolph-Henry agricultural teacher Jim Pugh noted that this was not the case with the recent regional youth cattle working event, which took place at the Blackstone Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

“A lot of folks might not understand that for these kids, these competitions are about as real as it gets,” Pugh said. “The cattle that the students are working are not trained stock cattle. We go down and move them up straight out of the pasture. It really is about as real as it gets — as close to what they will encounter in real life on the farm.”

This gives a great deal more weight to the Randolph-Henry team’s achievement, directly indicating that they are setting themselves up for success as farmers in real life.
Congratulations, Statesmen and future farmers!