FFA, 4-H students show animals at Smith County Youth Expo

FFA, 4-H students show animals at Smith County Youth Expo
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 5:31 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 9:08 PM CST

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - FFA and 4-H members from across East Texas began showing their best animals Wednesday in hopes of taking home the prize.

The Smith County Youth Expo, hosted by Bullard ISD, features 295 projects entered by more than 160 FFA and 4-H students from across East Texas.

Bullard ag teacher Stephen Hindman says it takes a lot of work and commitment for students to get to this point.

“The reason we do this is to show them responsibility for taking care of an animal and the hard work that it takes to raise a champion,” says Hindman.

He says students have to clean pens daily, and ensure animals are eating well.

Bullard FFA student Delaney Taylor says her biggest takeaway from the program has been responsibility.

“I feed myself, I clothe myself, and I bathe myself but my animals, they rely on me,” says Taylor.

Taylor says she has been a member of the Bullard FFA since third grade and has been showing pigs since she was three years old. She says raising show animals takes personal sacrifice and is a learning experience.

“This is where students can come and not necessarily come here and just beat themselves down if they don’t win but get experience, know what they need to change about their animals before we go to the big shows like San Antonio, San Angelo, Houston - the big Texas majors,” she says.

Hindman says he grew up in 4-H and FFA and has a passion for teaching it to the next generation.

“I love being able to help students and when you see a student succeed and get that grand champion banner or buckle it makes you feel really good and knowing that they did such an excellent job; they listened, did what they needed to do to raise a champion,” says Hindman.

More than 130 graduating seniors have been awarded scholarships by the Smith County Youth Expo since 2008.