FFA students missing opportunities due to canceled events look to online opportunities

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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Events shutting down because of COVID-19 are having a financial impact on young East Texans who are a part of Future Farmers of America.

With the closing of huge events like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, East Texas FFA students have missed valuable opportunities.

“This year’s turned out a lot different then we all expected, COVID-19 has taken a toll on us all, as our Houston and Austin shows were cancelled,” says Hawkins High School FFA member Madison Haney.

“For me this was going to be my ticket for next year, my money that I was going to spent on next year’s project,” says fellow FFA member Hayden Smith.

"A lot of time effort and money go into these projects and it would be a big payoff to still get to show and make some profit off of them," says Hawkins senior Mackenzie Rutherford.

Showing stock they have worked so hard to raise gives them the chance at sale money at auctions.

And more importantly, scholarship money.

“For seniors, they put it towards their college fund, and without it many students will not have the opportunity,” Haney says.

“They’re missing out on that opportunity right now but I think this is also a life lesson. we’re in a unique time right now,” says Hawkins High School FFA teacher Matt Byrd.

Kilgore FFA may have the answer.

Starting this week, the kids’ projects are listed on an online auction platform. A market sale. The final bid winner will be contacted and the animal will be owned by the winning bid.

"The idea of an online auction was brought up, and I think that's a really cool idea," Rutherford says.

Other school districts are exploring the possibility of the virtual online auction as a way to help the FFA students.

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