Her name was Sally Pig. She was my first 4-H project. I was 10 years old and I picked her out, fed her, walked her, watered her, bathed her, and played with her all by myself. I took my responsibilities very seriously, I knew if I didn’t take care of her no one else would, because it was MY job. I also knew I was saving for something called “college” and this would help me do that.
Sally Pig was my launching pad. She’s the reason I am here right now. My first successful project led to almost a decade of 4-H and FFA memberships and projects. Those led to college educations, collegiate memberships, travel, experience, jobs, friendships, outreach, and advocacy. Sally was turning point in my life – it was the point where I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt agriculture would always be a major part of who I am.
What makes this story so much sweeter is my Grandfather, Fletcher, bought Sally. A little background on my Grandfather, he was not one to go the fair, register to be a buyer, and buy one of his grandkid’s 4-H project. He was not warm, fuzzy or involved with the day to day lives of his many grandchildren, except for me. It was huge he bought my first 4-H project, a fact that was not lost on a ten year old me. Year’s later, after Grandfather had passed away, and we were cleaning out his personal effects, we found the thank you note and buyer’s award. He had saved them. And Sally was the first and only 4-H project he’d ever purchased.
I’ve always liked to think he took an interest in me because he knew I would be the one grandchild most likely to continue the family’s cattle ranching legacy. The fact that my Grandfather was so eager to support my agricultural passion, makes me want to support others.