Josh Meyer makes no qualms about the fact that he’s a “city kid.”
Prior to getting involved with the Future Farmers of America at Lathrop High School because he thought it would be something cool to do, Meyer had spent little time if any on a ranch or a farm and thought that most of the people who lived that lifestyle were somewhat backwards and country.
But by Monday afternoon he had become an award-winning livestock farmer himself.
“I’ve got a newfound appreciation for what those people do,” Meyer said – still wearing the white jeans and the white button-down shirt that he had to wear when showing his animal. “Some of the stuff that you have to do is hard work and it takes time.
“But I’m already looking forward to next year.”
Meyer was part of a contingency of five Lathrop High students who spent the last six months raising boer market goats at the Manteca Unified School District Farm.
At least every other day he made the trip to the site on Louise Avenue to feed “Oscar” – the goat he purchased for $175 – and make sure that his pen was clean and he was well tended to before he headed home to focus on his schoolwork.
By the time Meyer arrived at the livestock showing area Monday morning, he had shelled out almost $400 in all including food and necessary care items, and spent between 10 and 15 hours a week taking care of his animal.
He had to shear it prior to Monday’s showing session to make sure it was attractive to the judges – the higher it scored the better the price he’d get paid for the goat at the culmination of the fair.
“The market price is about $7.20-a-pound and right now he’s about 80 pounds, so that’s about a 200 profit right now,” Meyer said. “I never thought that I’d do that well at the start of the year. I didn’t think this would be something that I’ve enjoyed as much as I have.”
And one of his schoolmates, Josh Elliott, also had reason to enjoy the fruits of his labor Monday afternoon.
While kicking back in his chair in the shade next to his two goats, Elliott had his two first place ribbons hanging out of the back of his pocket, a nice way to wrap up his first year in the FFA program. He didn’t join FFA until his shop teacher suggested it to him based on his performance in the classroom.
“I originally wanted to play football, but my teacher kind of pushed me towards it and I’ve since really gotten into it,” Elliott said. “I just got elected president for the next school year.
“I’m glad that we placed as well as we did today. I’m hoping that as a program we’re able to get more people involved with FFA at Lathrop High, and we’re able to become active in the community.”