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Future Farmers Prepare For County Fair
They raise goats and this year rabbits, too, for display at the Stanislaus County Fair. They are growing seedlings in greenhouses and vegetables and flowers outdoors for sale at the Riverbank Farmers Market. The Future Farmers of America at Riverbank High School keep busy in a variety of pursuits connected with farming, according to agriculture teacher and their club advisor Jack Wool.

This is the second year Future Farmers there have had several greenhouses in which to raise items like herbs, cucumbers, squash, jalapeno peppers, basil, corn, pumpkins and several varieties of tomatoes.

They have a state license to sell their produce at the city's weekly farmers market starting in early June, they have displayed them at recent city events like the Beyond Earth Day and Sip and Stroll and they donate plants for the community gardens started by Dottie Nygard at California Avenue School, Crossroads School and elsewhere in town.

On the south side of the campus in a collection of sheds and greenhouses, there is a virtual farm of both animals and crops.

Half a dozen goats are being raised for exhibit at the fair. The school also showed pigs last year but this time is substituting rabbits.

Sherri Ayers, parent of FFA member Katie Ayers, assists with the farm. With the county fair due to open July 16, she was in Turlock recently to arrange space for Riverbank High's animals and exhibits.

Future Farmers also keep hens in among the sheds and both sell and donate the eggs to parents and staff.

Some herbs, by the way, go to the culinary arts department to help its students spice their dishes.

Wool spends much of his time in the agricultural welding department, where students have labored long and hard on cutting, bending, and painting metal pipe to fabricate pig pens to replace worn out versions at the fair.

Riverbank High students have made eight panels for themselves and other schools to use. Built of aluminum and fitted with locking gates, they make an impressive display standing on the south side of the agriculture department's workshop.