BOZEMAN — Students from all over the state gathered in Bozeman to participate in the 92nd Annual FFA Montana State Conference, and some students decided to feed competitors after their competition.
Missoula County is unique, where they operate their own farm and meat processing plant, allowing students hands-on experience. Raising livestock from birth to processing, and with the FFA Taco Booth, now to the business side of agriculture.
“We need to get back to our roots, and this program is teaching kids to do that. How to grow their own food, how to process their own food, how to eat their own food,” Walter Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer is the President of the Montana Farmers Union and assisted the Missoula County FFA team to acquire a freezer van to transport food. Prior, the students would deliver and transfer using coolers in the back of a pick-up truck, Schweitzer said.
The Missoula County students made the trip to the convention and prepared to feed hungry competitors.
“It’s also good to know that you’re serving the community around you, with all the food that we’ve grown out at the farm,” Wilson Bordner, an FFA member said.
The ingredients used in the booth come straight from the farm in Missoula—everything from the lettuce, tomatoes, and, of course, the beef.
“None of my kids now—and for the last 10 years—I’ve never had a student that has come from a production-agriculture background,” agriculture teacher Tom Andres said.
Andres notes that the students working in the booth today learn all of these skills on the job, not through prior experience growing up. Students like Kody Skaggs have used skills and time spent in the program to earn college credit.
“I feel very proud with what I’m able to accomplish through this school,” Skaggs said.
The booth has been operational for three years, and in the future the school and students are hoping to attend more events.