Katy ISD unveils new agriculture science center for livestock show, rodeo

Monday, February 18, 2019

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By: Jen Para - Community Impact 

The Katy ISD Future Farmers of America Livestock Show and Katy Rodeo kicked off Feb. 13 at new facilities.

The new $34 million Gerald D. Young Agriculture Science Center is located at 5825 Katy Hockley Cut Off Road, Katy, and includes the L.D. Robinson Pavilion and W.E. “Billy” Morgan Rodeo Arena, according to KISD documents. The pavilion and arena are each about 35,000 square feet, sitting on about 130 acres of land for KISD students to learn about agriculture.

The new facilities were funded from the 2014 $99 million bond referendum. Check out photos of the new center in the gallery above.

“There’s nothing like this in the state of Texas,” said Joe Bochat, an agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor at Seven Lakes High School, talking about the new agriculture science center.

He led about 600 FFA student volunteers to put on a special rodeo on Feb. 13 for KISD special education students, he said. The event has grown from about 60 students in 2010 to 530 students in 2019, he said.

At this year’s event, students were able to experience hands-on agricultural learning activities, such as petting goats, riding horses, climbing on a mechanical bull and watching show dogs perform tricks.

Between Feb. 13-16, even more students will show their steers, rabbits, chickens and swine at the new facilities.

During the swine weigh-in on Feb. 13, Phillip Dautrich was looking after his son’s pig, The Donald. He said the cost of raising a hog is about $1,000, and at the auction the animal can be sold for about $1,400-$2,000, but a grand champion hog can sell as high as $8,000-10,000, he said.

The FFA livestock show teaches children responsibility and independence, he said. To teach his son business skills, Dautrich said he gave his son a two-year loan to pay for the hog and its upkeep. Proceeds from selling The Donald at the auction can be used for future schooling or an investment into the next hog, Dautrich said.

“We talk about unparalleled academic experiences [at Katy ISD,]… but these are the unparalleled experiences in addition to academics,” KISD Superintendent Ken Gregorski said.

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