Delta Liquid Energy Supports Local 4-H and FFA Youth Through Livestock Auction
At Delta Liquid Energy, we believe in fostering strong bonds with our community and supporting the dreams and aspirations of local youth. We take immense pride in contributing to our local communities. One of the ways we do this is through our meaningful involvement in events like the California Mid-State Fair, where Delta Liquid Energy enthusiastically support the efforts of 4-H and FFA kids by purchasing their livestock.
As always, we had a great time at this year’s auction! Every year we have lots of eager 4-H and FFA kids mailing or stopping in to drop off their buyers’ letters in hopes of persuading us to bid on their livestock. This year, we had over 178 letters that our IT Manager, Jeff Phillips, meticulously sifted through. He made detailed notes to be prepared for when bidding time came. We love receiving all the letters and wish we could support everyone. However, with so many, we had to make choices at auction time to help stretch our donation to as many kids as we could. We were able to outbid competitors to support eleven 4-H and FFA youth this year.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the young farmers who we had a chance to support this year.
Ashley Hagen, 17 years old: Templeton FFA Supreme Champion Market Goat
Ashley’s journey into livestock raising was inspired by her father’s experience as a state and national officer and his ranch in Walnut Grove. Ashley began with sheep at the age of 10, transitioned to pigs after moving to Templeton, and later, in high school, moved to FFA and started raising goats. Although pigs remain her favorite, when asked what her favorite part about showing goats is, she remarked that “they have a very interesting personality. He (her goat) actually jumps out of the pin when I leave and tries to follow me. It’s kind of funny.
Her show career has spanned the country, driven by dedication and a strong work ethic, attributes she honed through early mornings and late nights in the barn. The more effort she invested, the more rewarding her successes became, even if it meant missing out on social activities.
Reflecting on her journey, Ashley’s learned hard work and determination through her involvement with animals. Memorable experiences include showcasing and winning alongside friends, fostering strong bonds over the years. Ashley’s livestock-raising experience synergizes with her graphic design aspirations, as she understands that the work ethic, dedication, and determination she applies to her projects directly translate into her schooling.
Navigating the balance between school, extracurricular activities, and animal care requires adept time management. Throughout high school, Ashley maximized online college courses during her free periods and summers. This approach allowed her to attend to her barn responsibilities while also excelling academically and participating in soccer.
Ashley just graduated from high school and is set to embark on a new chapter at the University of Alabama, where she will pursue graphic design.
Wade Nelson, 16 years old: Templeton FFA – Pig
Wade started raising pigs on the ranch he’s called home since he was six or seven years old. His affinity for ranch living and his longstanding interest in showcasing animals led him to the world of FFA, where he’s now in his fourth year of participation.
Looking ahead, FFA has cast a significant influence on Wade’s future aspirations. As he enters his junior year of high school, he envisions a path in Agricultural Business post-graduation. With plans to apply to renowned institutions like Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Davis, Wade is poised to translate his FFA experiences into a promising career in agriculture.
Through his journey with his pig, Raspberry, and other animals, Wade has encountered valuable lessons in responsibility and commitment. His tale of patience stands out as a testament to his dedication. From a heifer that couldn’t be bred to backup pigs that struggled to meet weight requirements, Wade’s resilience shone through. Spending every half hour with Raspberry (his 2nd backup pig) during the first day of the fair, coaxing her to eat and drink enough to make weight, taught him the essence of patience—a lesson that extends far beyond the realm of livestock raising.
Alison Hopkins, 15 years old: Paso Robles FFA – Pig
When asked about the significance of FFA program in cultivating agricultural knowledge, Alison emphasized the power of education in creating a ripple effect of awareness. She pointed out that understanding the planet, crops, and people goes hand in hand with sharing that knowledge with others.
Alison shared her advice for others considering getting involved in FFA or 4H, excitedly saying “Definitely join! It’s one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. It really gives you a lot of knowledge about agriculture, the care of animals, the care of other people, and teamwork.” She described her experience as one of the most enjoyable endeavors she’s ever embarked upon. The program not only imparts insights into agriculture and animal care but also teaches valuable lessons about responsibility, commitment, and collaboration.
Reflecting on the lessons she’s learned, she highlighted the importance of time management in balancing project work and allowing animals to rest. She shared her meticulous approach to preparing livestock for competitions at the fair, which involved daily interaction with her pig, maintaining cold water and airflow, and avoiding overfeeding. Her involvement in FFA has also had a lasting impact on her aspirations, helping her develop essential skills in teamwork and leadership that will shape her future.
Amid the journey, Alison recalled a memorable and amusing incident during show days. Her pig decided to spin donuts in the show ring, bringing laughter to the audience. However, Alison was able to maintain composure, showcasing her ability to handle unexpected challenges and maintain her poise to ultimately achieve success.
Trigg Jensen, 9 years old: Pozo 4-H – Pig
This spirited 9-year-old had a great experience with his first year raising a pig and he is very excited to get to do it all over again next year.
When it came to selecting his pig this year, Trigg’s story takes a charming twist. A visit to Cal Poly to purchase a pig led to an unexpected encounter. Among the trotting pigs, one caught his attention as it playfully raced in circles. When he saw it, he instantly said “Oh! That one is perfect for me!” and asked, “Can I have this one?”
The journey of raising his chosen pig proved to be a rewarding experience for Trigg. With the pig residing on his spacious property, Trigg would diligently walk and care for it every day. Remarkably, he navigated the process smoothly, avoiding major hurdles in achieving the required weight.
We also had the opportunity to support Trigg’s older sister, Alexis, when we purchased her pig at last year’s fair.
Abilene Bourgault, 10 years old: Creston 4-H – Sheep
Abilene’s journey into this realm was influenced by her uncles who raise sheep, inspiring her to raise a sheep herself. This year marked Abilene’s inaugural venture into raising livestock for 4-H. Not only did she raise a sheep, but she also took on the challenge of nurturing a heifer.
Looking ahead, Abilene is already setting her sights on the next year’s projects. She plans to raise a heifer and a steer for the California Mid-State Fair and a sheep for King City Fair. Her perseverance shines through her experience with the sheep, as she adeptly tackled the challenges of halter breaking her sheep – training it to walk on a halter.
Through this experience, Abilene absorbed valuable life lessons. Raising her sheep taught her the virtues of hard work and unwavering dedication.
Nathan Schalk, 15 years old: Cerro Alto 4-H – Sheep
Nathan’s mother’s 4-H background sparked his interest in the realm of livestock projects, motivating him to raise sheep and be a part of the Cerro Alto 4H for the past 4 years. This year, Nathan set a goal to avoid last place in the market category, achieving an impressive 5th place. Witnessing his hard work pay off at the local fair was nothing short of “awesome,” Nathan stated, giving two thumbs-up.
Nathan recognizes the significance of 4-H in fostering agricultural education. Beyond forging lasting friendships, the hands-on experiences have fueled his personal growth and community involvement. He has also acquired some practical skills, including how to prevent a lamp from choking by massaging its throat and stated that “they choke a lot on their feed, it happens all the time.”
Memorable moments and challenges have peppered his journey, with his most exciting, yet challenging, being showing his sheep in the ring. Another challenge he was faced with this year was the cost of his sheep, with lamb prices rising from the previous year.
When asked for his advice for budding 4-H enthusiasts he confidently said “Send buyers letters.”
Benjamin MacConnell, 17 years old: Templeton FFA – Pig
Benjamin has been dedicated to raising pigs for seven years. His enduring passion for pig showing has led him to choose this undertaking year after year. The experience has helped him cultivate essential life skills like time management and responsibility and he noted that being involved in FFA has impaced his personal growth by teaching him “responsibility and being able to manage time and getting everything done in a day.”
Benjamin’s participation in FFA has profoundly impacted his personal growth, enhancing his ability to manage various commitments. His journey has been marked by memorable moments, including nursing a sick pig to meet weight requirements—an impressive feat that demonstrated his commitment.
This involvement has also guided Benjamin’s future aspirations, nudging him towards considering an agricultural path in either AG Business or Fire Science, with Cal Poly as his potential destination. Amid a busy schedule, he was able to balance school, extracurricular activities, and pig care by prioritizing and allocating time efficiently.
Chance Burk, 17 years old: Pozo 4-H – Pig
Chance has dedicated six years to the world of raising livestock, taking after his dad and stepmom, who became 4-H leaders and encouraged him to join. Chance’s parents’ involvement as pig leaders, coupled with the ease of raising pigs, directed his choice of raising this livestock.
Chance’s journey in 4-H has significantly impacted his personal growth. It’s instilled a robust work ethic and expanded his ability to care for a variety of animals, fostering a sense of responsibility and commitment. He recounts memorable experiences, including facing the challenge of a particularly spirited backup pig—one that possessed an inclination to attack anything in sight. Luckily, she was just a backup pig, so she did not give him any trouble while showing at the fair, but he did highlight the importance of having backup pigs and would suggest to everyone showing livestock to have at least one backup animal.
Being a part of 4-H holds special significance for Chance. Working with diverse animals allows him to acquire unique skills, including the intriguing ability to hypnotize a chicken.
We also purchased from a pig from Katie Ogle with Atascadero FFA (shown above), a pig from Tillen Treder with Pozo 4-H, and a sheep from Elliette Massey but were not able to find them to grab a photo and interview.
Overall, Delta Liquid Energy supported our local 4-H and FFA youth to the tune of over $25,000 at the 2023 California Mid-State Fair.
Learn about other ways Delta Liquid Energy supports the local communities here.
Interested in learning more about 4H and FFA?