After four years showing pigs through 4-H, Kinley Schleicher knew she wanted to expand her show ring circuit and FFA was the next best way to do it. The Caldwell, Idaho teen was even prepared to bus to the next school over to take an ag class and become a member of their FFA program.
So, when her own high school just happened to start up an FFA program — after a 50-year absence – the freshman was more than happy to jump on board to help.
“I have a lot of friends in Vallivue FFA chapter and I saw all the new opportunities they had and could see all the new competition out there and could compete at,” Schleicher said.
Schleicher, who shows two Hampshires, two Berkshires, and one Yorkshire, has made a name for herself in the show pig circuit. Showing at Canyon County Fair and the Western Idaho Fair as well as in the Snake River Circuit, this year has been her most successful show season — taking Grand Champion Intermediate Showman in the Jackpot Circuit.
“My dad told me if I could take care of a pig, I probably could take care of a steer, but I really enjoy working with the pigs,” Schleicher said.
While the decision to start up an ag program again at Caldwell came from the school administration, Schleicher hopes her experience in 4-H may rub off on some members this year. Caldwell FFA got off to a slow start last year with just six members and this year the school has hired a new ag teacher and advisor for the program.
Schleicher, who will serve as chapter president this fall, would like to see 15 active members by the end of the school year. She would also like to see the chapter attend the state leadership conference and enter more competitions.
“I just want to show what a positive impact FFA and agriculture has made in my life and I hope to show other students that in joining this, it can have a positive impact on their lives as well,” Schleicher said.
And Schleicher said while the other local FFA chapters may be competition, they have been nothing but supportive of Caldwell FFA.
“It shows what an FFA family we are,” Schleicher said. “They could be your toughest competition, but you will always have that support and willingness to lend a helping hand.”
While Schleicher has three more years to help build up Caldwell FFA, she hopes the chapter is here to stay.
“You don’t have to live on a farm or have an ag background to be part of FFA and I hope other students will understand that,” Schleicher said.