SELMA – Selma High’s FFA Boosters are hosting their second annual Fall Harvest Banquet on Oct. 21. Future Farmers of America students say the support local farmers give them now by sponsoring the event will pay off for generations to come.
Selma High School FFA Chapter President Alexsa Sarente is among students participating in the banquet. Her goal is to become a large animal veterinarian and minor in ag business. She specifically wants to work with ag students as she realizes it can be tough to find vets who have time for students.
“They have really busy schedules and I want to focus on that so the kids have someone they can call if they ever need help.”
Sarente is a senior in her fourth year of the FFA program and recalls the first banquet in 2016 as being a success largely because of the numerous donated auction items.
“There were many items in the auctions and support from local farmers,” Sarente said. “We especially appreciate Mr. Sihota. He’s been a really big help and many other farmers, too. Mr. Sihota went to Selma High and his two sons went to Selma and he let us use his house for the first year [of the banquet]. It turned out really good since people really support our chapter a lot.”
This year’s banquet is 5:30-9 p.m. Oct. 21 at PRG Farms, 7594 E. Conejo Ave., Selma.
Sarente is raising a beef cattle steer this year and says some of the other project animals such as the baby lambs will be on hand at the banquet.
The FFA students are heading to the Fresno Fair for showmanship and market competitions this week. They’re hopeful that months of work in feeding, handling, grooming and training their animals will pay off, Sarente said.
“We’ve been feeding the animals every single day, morning and night, practicing showing and making sure their hair looks really good.”
Sarente has been working with Theodore since November. Now that it’s time to compete, she admits it’s tiring but she’s eager to see how she stacks up against other advanced competitors.
“It takes a lot of energy out of you waking up in the morning, being there at night, feeding and walking. I’m nervous to show because it is my last year and I’ll be competing in advanced showmanship with a bunch of seniors who’ve been showing for a while.”
No matter where she places in the Fresno Fair competitions, Sarente says she doesn’t take the opportunity to take care of Theodore for granted.
“Raising an animal is something really different. Since I didn’t grow up on a farm, I never understood the amount of responsibility it takes. I really like that I got to experience that throughout my four years of being in FFA. You get to learn a lot of new things. Not a lot of people get to do that,” she said of raising pigs for her first two years of high school and steer during her last two. “I’m really excited I got the opportunity to do this.”
Sarente says Theodore will be weighed in on Tuesday and will be classified by his weight for market.
“Showmanship is basically all on you. It shows how well you’ve been working with your animal and if they listen to you. Some part is the animal, but it’s basically on you.”
FFA Booster member Brandon Shoemaker invites residents to the banquet to support one of the last operating, self-sufficient high school farms in the state. The farm is operated completely by student FFA members and advisers. The commodities the farm produces feed students throughout the school district.
“Your participation helps fund and educate the next generation … of ag innovators who will feed us, ensure food safety, good stewardship of our resources and environment for years to come,” Shoemaker said.
Banquet tickets are $50 per person or $400 for a table of eight. The event includes a barbecue steak dinner, live and silent auctions and raffles. Social hour and a no-host bar starts at 5:30 p.m., the auction and dinner start at 6:30 p.m.
The guest speaker is Congressman David G. Valadao with a special appearance and announcement from Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.
Proceeds from the banquet allow more members to attend and compete at various FFA-sanctioned events and competitions throughout the state at no cost to them or their families. For tickets, sponsorships or donations contact Shoemaker at 470-7149.