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Yesterday was certainly a day to remember for the Lamar County Junior Livestock Association. Not only did it mark the organization’s 46th anniversary, but it was also officially welcomed as a new member of the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce.
The ceremony was held in the Coliseum at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds. Chamber ambassadors and organization members alike gathered in the ring at 3 pm, anxiously awaiting the ribbon cutting that would mark this momentous occasion.
Phyllis Brumley, one of several directors-at-large who has been involved in the organization for 38 years, did the honors of cutting the ribbon. Though the Association has existed in Lamar County for nearly 50 years, Brumley stated that many in the area are still not aware of the organization and all the work involved. She hopes to raise awareness through this new membership.
“Since Lamar County is an agriculture-based county, we hope that by us joining the Chamber, this will make more people aware that this goes on. Some people here in Lamar County have no idea,” she said. “They’ve never been to a livestock show. They don’t know what we do, they don’t know how hard it is for these kids to show these animals and work these projects. They have to buy them, feed them, and it takes a lot of time, a lot of money, and also, it teaches them lots of responsibility.”
Simply put, the Lamar County Junior Livestock Association consists of all Lamar County 4-H Clubs and FFA chapters. Whereas FFA is a program associated with schools, 4-H is on a national level. According to 4-H director, Paula Sorreno, those who wish to participate in the shows must be members of both organizations in order to qualify.
“Here, all five school districts come together as well as all the 4-H kids,” she said. “They all come together and show their projects here.”
The shows may involve the selling and buying of livestock, but rest assured, no paychecks go to the undeserving. The kids do not have to worry about their hard work going to waste. The primary focus is-and always will be-on the kids.
“Everybody in this organization is a volunteer,” said Association Treasurer, Steve Tucker. “Nobody gets paid. [It’s] non-profit. All the money goes back to the kids.”
With the increased awareness from the Association’s new place in the Chamber of Commerce, Brumley hopes the community can come together and help ensure every animal is sold. If one buyer does not have enough money to pay for an animal, he/she and another buyer(s) can start a buying pool together.
“We need help from the community,” she said. “You know, we sell up to 115 lots of animals every year. This year, we’re only going to sell 103 and each of one of those animals needs a buyer.”
Both Brumley and Tucker stated that knowledge and acceptance of the fact that the animal is a market animal (intended to be eaten) is crucial before becoming a member.
“This is the cycle, this is where our food comes from and we need people to be aware, to raise this,” she said. “Because if we didn’t, we’d be like one of those countries that [doesn’t] get to eat.”
Just like in any other good organization, members must learn skills that don’t just help them in the present, but will allow them to succeed later on in life.
“Really, that’s part of our organization, it’s showing kids, parents, the community, this is where our food comes from,” Tucker said.
The Lamar County Junior Livestock Show begins at 8 this morning with a horse show check-in and the final sale of market animals will begin at 6:45 pm in the Coliseum. For more information about the association or 4-H, visit http://www.lcjl.org/ or http://www.4-h.org/.