He promotes agriculture and what’s good about kids

February 2, 2013

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If your 16-year-old daughter has a date, he’s the kind of boy you’d like to see at the front door.

Concerned parents, meet Sam Spradlin, a Granbury High sophomore. (Sam, this isn’t embarrassing is it?)

Sam’s one those of extra polite, mature-beyond-his-years 4-H boys. He raises show sheep at his grandpa’s place south of Granbury, and he wants to be a county agent or agriculture teacher.

Oh, he’s also a Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador – one of only 50 in the state – who helps promote the livestock industry.

He’s doing a fine job fanning the economic facts about agriculture and the junior stock show in Hood County. He had a booth and a PowerPoint presentation at last month’s county stock show.

At first glance, Hood County doesn’t appear to be an agriculture-rich county. Sam himself lives in Pecan Plantation, a country club community. The lake, businesses and residences take up a good portion of the county, but closer inspection might prove otherwise.

“You don’t see it (agriculture) unless you go out to the stock show or toward Tolar and Lipan,” Sam explains. “You see a lot of pastures. It’s a booming agriculture county.”

About 10 years ago a state survey estimated economic figures from youth livestock projects. A couple of years later, Hood County Agent Marty Vahlenkamp localized the report. An estimated $323,563 was spent on Hood County livestock projects in the 2005-06 show season.

“While many projects are purchased outside of Hood County, the majority of feed and medical costs are spent at local feed stores and veterinarian offices,” the study reported.

The latest figures are not available, but Sam points out the numbers are much higher now because of increased costs, especially feed.

Granbury Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mike Scott is a huge fan of the local stock show. “I love that event,” he said. “Where else can you learn life lessons? They take an animal, have to take care of them and sell them.”

Mike agrees with Marty and Sam that the stock show provides an impressive economic boost. Maybe a $1 million year-round economic impact, Mike believes.

“People come in here from around the county and area. They’re buying lunch and gas and spending money.”

Granbury’s granddaddy of the economic impacts – the Fourth of July celebration – pumps in about $5 million to $8 million, Mike said. But he smiles when someone mentions the junior livestock show. “I can’t say enough good things about it,” he said.

Neither can Sam, the boy next door.

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