YALL–more than a greeting; an education of a lifetime

In Texas, Y’all ranks as one of the most popular forms of identification.  Where are y’all going?  Howdy Y’all.  However, for some selected students in the 4H program this summer, Y’all represented the opportunity of a lifetime.

The Ag Extension office accepts applications during the spring from 4H members across South and Central Texas to participate in the Youth Agriculture Lifetime Leadership (Y’All) conference.  Those selected spend a week during their summer attending seminars and traveling to different agribusiness throughout South Texas.

This year, Ethan Fish Logan Weynand, and Connor Brown represented Helotes 4H LSP at the conference.  Members of YALL traveled through Victoria, Corpus Christi, and McAllen to visit ranches, farms, and production facilities focused on agriculture in the state.

The students from the Helotes area joined their peers from Uvalde, Lampasas, Mason, Kerr, Bexar, and Gillespie counties.  The Helotes students shared their enthusiasm of meeting students from other parts of Texas and forming lifelong friendships.

The YALL conference travels throughout the State of Texas and selects a different region each summer. 

For the Helotes students, they enjoyed a tour of a sugar cane farm and learned many of the sugar cane plants in the state have closed.  The farmers have created a co-op that assists with securing the best price from the mill.  The mill then will come to the farmers and cut and remove the sugar cane for processing.

Heartland Beef proved to be a popular stop during the week.  The students learned the value of a successful weaning process that lowers the stress on both the calves and mother cows.  Heartland Beef produces grass fed beef and markets the product to many retail outlets.  Grass fed beef has lower cholesterol and is considered heart healthy for the American consumer.

Students also toured a cotton farm and learned the process of growing and harvesting cotton.

A surprise location for many of the students was the US Border Patrol.  4H members learned about the Horse Patrol and canine program.  The US Border Patrol utilizes wild mustangs in the program.  Prisoners in the Texas Department of Corrections break the wild mustangs and prepare them for training in the program.  The mustangs are then sent to the training facilities where Border Patrol officers complete the training process for the horses and incorporate them into the program to assist officers patrolling the Mexico-US border.

Connor Brown shared, “The program leaves an impact on those who attend.  You learn about the business of agriculture and for some they learn how Agribusiness works.

The application process is easy and I encourage 4H members to apply for next year’s conference.”

Brown a senior at O’Connor focuses his attention on ag mechanics, landscaping, and horticulture.  After graduation, he plans to attend Texas A&M-College Station to pursue studies in one of the fields.  As a 4H LSP member he exhibits goats, pigs, and chickens.

Fellow O’Connor senior, Logan Weynand, also raises pigs.  He like Brown is a member of the O’Connor FFA  and Helotes 4H LSP program as well.  He too plans to attend Texas A&M-College Station majoring in Aerospace Engineering.

Ethan Fish, an O’Connor sophomore, is also a member of the O’Connor FFA program and Helotes 4H LSP.  When Fish completes high school, he hopes to attend Texas A&M—College Station and major in Veterinary Science.

This past year admission to the program (if selected) cost $200.  Interested students completed a two-page application and submitted it to the Kerr Agrilife Extension office.  For those interested in the 2019 summer program you may check out the YALL Facebook page by logging onto https://www.facebook.com/4HYALL/.

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