Vernon Parish Cattlemen's Association aims to educate the next generation

Leesville, La. (KALB) - Riding around 800 acres of green, open pasture Vernon Parish students saw the beauty of Porter and Sons Ranch for themselves.

"It really makes you appreciate everything a lot more," said Leesville High School Senior Thad Segura.

The tour is part of Youth Agriculture Day put on by the Vernon Parish Cattlemen's Association.

11th and 12th grade students rotated between stations about topics like farm safety, careers in agriculture and animal health.

"It's really neat, I came last year," Segura said. "There is so much to learn, they offer a lot of stuff."

VPCA Secretary Rusty Bailes said the association's main focus is educating the next generation of farmers.

"Most kids think that their meat and their milk all come from the grocery store," Bailes said. "They don't know where it comes from."

He wants to pass the torch.

"It's an opportunity to tell those that will follow us what it takes to be a rancher and a farmer," Bailes said.

Growing up on a farm herself, 11th grader Madison Wells knows what is at stake.

"If people don't see all this, you are going to see a dying culture," Wells said.

VPCA President David Porter's family has owned the Leesville ranch since the 1930s.

He said the average age of a farmer nowadays is 62.

"I'm 59 and my dad is 91, so we are on the upper end," Porter said.

Porter hopes his ranch can inspire young adults to join the industry.

"Maybe in their future they could have some kind of farmland or have cows," Porter said. "You don't have to have 300 head you can have five or ten."

But, Porter's passion for his farm doesn't go unnoticed.

"All the work and everything the Porters' right here put into it, they work hard and we appreciate them, and everybody else that is in the business," Segura said.

The Vernon Parish Cattlemen's Association holds other events throughout the year to educate youth and the community. They also sponsor scholarships for students interested in agriculture careers.

To keep updated with the association visit

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