A salute to the young farmers and ranchers
At the Roseburg, Oregon youth livestock auction on August 10, Auctioneer Stan Deupree made a very positive comment about the young people involved in 4H and FFA programs. He told the Douglas County sheriff that these youngsters were the type that ride in the front seat, opposed to the back seat, cuffed and stuffed. Sheriff John Hanlin was in the sale ring escorting the young lady who sang the national anthem.
Deupree’s remarks are definitely true of the thousands of young people around the country and around the world who are deeply involved in agriculture. They ride in the front seat because they act as young adults, not in the back seat acting like childish hooligans.
Two days later I was in Klamath Falls at yet another auction. There the young people of Klamath County were selling animals that may well represent, to them, a college education and a good start on their future. One couldn’t help but be touched by the many tears that were shed because those young people were losing a friend once the sale was over. I saw it with the hogs, the beef, the lambs and even a couple of geese. Young people forming a bond that defies description, but definitely touches the heart.
I guess it would be easy for an outsider to say that those kids knew what they were getting into when they bought the animals in the first place. It’s easy to reason that they should develop a toughness, that they should be hardened to the facts of life, after all, it’s only an animal. Thank God they don’t.
This bonding is important. When Deupree called my attention to a young lady who obviously had formed a bond with, of all animals, a goose, I couldn’t help but think that this is the major difference between the front-seaters and the back-seaters. These young folks have learned to focus on something besides themselves and that is why I like being around the agricultural community. They are the straight shooters, the people who will tell you something and make certain it is the truth. They have a big influence not just on each other, but on the lives of those around them. But their sphere of influence goes even further than their peers. They positively affect those who come to the auctions. It’s evident in the support they get from the community.
It is a great pleasure to be around this agricultural community. There are no finer people anywhere on the face of this earth, and I know, because I have traveled the whole thing.
Those tears tell me that inside this young person is someone who cares about more than just him or herself. Those tears tell you about the character of the person and it’s pretty reassuring that to know that those people still exist–that they will inherit the reins in the very near future.
Some of the young people involved with 4H and FFA are not very big yet, but I’d have to say that what’s inside of you is a whole lot bigger than the outside. I, for one, salute you all for what you are doing.