AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION - OUR FUTURE
Visitors to this website and our Facebook pages often ask why I provide my photography - strictly as a volunteer - for farm and ranch families and those who supply and serve them.
For years, the national news hammered us with stories about the whining and crying of students on elite college campuses demanding “safe places” and “safe zones” where they will be sheltered from "trigger words" and "micro-aggressions" or anything that remotely offends them. They insist on having a special “only me” protection where they do not have to do anything, hear anything, see anything or be around anyone whose opinion they don’t like.
While that protected, pampered and sheltered mob is wallowing in their self-absorbed feelings of oppression, and demanding more and more entitlements, our hard-working ag students from our farming and ranching families are up early every morning working on their chores and projects, then heading out for a full day at school, only to come home to more chores and ag project work - all while being actively part of their families, communities, and churches.
We must invest in the children of ag families because if they don’t follow in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents and accept the challenge to endure the hard work, risks and sacrifices required to feed us, no lives are going to matter.
To understand the bedrock foundation of our Nation and the strength and depth of our Christian values, one need only visit any junior livestock exposition and watch youngsters haul feed, prepare and clean stalls, wash and groom livestock, shovel manure , unload and load their family trucks and trailers, try to sleep in uncomfortable chairs and then openly pray together and support one another in Faith - with moms and dads, teachers and volunteers working just as hard behind the scenes.
For over three decades, I have taken a couple of days every year to go out to the San Antonio Livestock Exposition grounds alone, camera in hand, to just walk around, to watch and to reflect. And every year a smile comes to my face - combined with an inner joy – that stays with me all day as I watch hundreds of young women and men participating in Agricultural Education activities, supported by their families, their teachers and an army of volunteers.
Spend some time in the Agricultural Mechanics Show to meet our young women and men who learn to build, repair and maintain the powerful and often complex equipment that is required to feed the world like no other nation can.
As a former officer in two Army combat divisions, and as a retired CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, it takes a lot to get me emotional. But it happens to me every year when I walk through the stock show barns and the ag mechanics show and see the best, brightest and hardest-working youth of our nation who are being raised in our agricultural communities, by good families, and are being formed and educated by wonderful teachers, and whose families and communities acknowledge Our Lord as the foundation of their lives.
Too many of the wrong people, especially the wrong youth, get far too much attention. It is time that we start telling more of the stories of our agricultural communities and their families. I try to do my small part as a volunteer professional photographer.
To all Agricultural Education students, to your teachers, your parents and to the volunteers who support you, please know that you are deeply appreciated and profoundly respected. This proud American will keep you in his prayers every day. I promise!