IMG_2343Written By Marissa Greenberg, DVM

San Luis Obispo High School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) Program is brimming with rising stars. These aren’t just Future Farmers, they are future leaders, public officials, veterinarians, and are getting prepared for any profession they may choose to enter. Thanks to the amazing FFA program that San Luis High has to offer, this isn’t just about learning to raise animals and sell them at the local fair. Animal Care Clinic has had the privilege of working with some of the students involved on teams that compete around the state in different events.

Mrs. Anna Bates, one of the teachers in the Agricultural Education Program at San Luis High, and I have known each other since our early college days. I was honored when Mrs. Bates asked me to start helping her with some of her classes and students, and have now been helping for several years.

This is the first year that we have worked closely with students competing on the Specialty Animal Team. This team consists of several students who have traveled the state to FFA competitions. There are several parts to this contest, from breed ID of many different species, to identifying parasites, surgical instruments, and being able to do complicated medical math problems. They also have to judge rabbits, and give reasons on the placing of a class. This is where Dr. Markoff stepped in to help the girls. Many people don’t know this, but Dr. Markoff is an accomplished livestock judger. She helped coach the girls on the giving of reasons to the judges. I’ve helped these girls learn to identify breeds, instruments, and parasites on an almost weekly basis. This team of young girls has been amazing! They’ve placed very well at all of their contests and are headed to state finals this Saturday at Cal Poly! Join me in wishing them luck in their quest to head to the National competition.

IMG_6942Mrs. Bates also has a team of students that will compete at State Finals this weekend in an Agricultural Issues Competition. This group will present both sides of an issue to a team of judges and be presented with difficult questions at the end. Part of preparing for this was to come to Animal Care Clinic and present their forum to several staff members. We enjoyed listening to this talented young group of public speakers, and were impressed with their ability to answer our tough questions. We know they are going to do great this weekend!

Animal Care Clinic, Dr. Markoff, and myself are pleased to be able to help foster an interest in animals, agriculture, and veterinary medicine in these young students. We look forward to seeing these students succeed and mature and go on to many great things in their future.