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Bright Futures: Madison LeBaron’s animal house

NEDERLAND — Inside the big red barn on Viterbo Road Bee Bee the pig snorts and becomes playful as Blair the lamb bays and seeks attention from her owner, Madison LeBaron.

Both animals, housed at the Nederland High School’s Future Farmers of America barn, are visibly attached to LeBaron, a sophomore and vice president of NHS FFA.

LeBaron maintains a pretty rigid schedule balancing academics, basketball and FFA. A regular day shows her at the barn around 5:30 a.m. as well as after school where she feeds her animals, walks them, tends to their supplements and more.

“I’ve always loved animals,” LeBaron said when asked why she takes part in FFA.

Her mom, Misti LeBaron, is always near and as seen what a positive influence FFA has had on her daughter.

“This is a good program and it gets her motivated to get up in the morning,” Misti Lebaron said. “She feeds the animals, orders their food, and keeps up with worming and more.

Bee Bee the pig relaxes after a walk.
Mary Meaux/the News

Amanda Word, FFA director and agriculture teacher, said the FFA program has two portions, one for junior members from third to eighth grades and that has 25 members this year and the senior members, from ninth to 12th grades where there are 39 members.

Madison Lebaron with Blair the lamb.
Mary Meaux/The News

“She’s a good kid and is always busy,” Word said. “She takes good care of the animals and is good with our chapter and for the program and clearly the animals love her.”

Both Blaire and Bee Bee have distinct personalities.

“Bee Bee likes belly rubs and treats, vanilla wafers,” Madison LeBaron said. “The lamb is like a child. She knows me and if she hears my voice and sees me she bays and makes all kinds of noises.”

There is more to FFA than feeding and walking animals. LeBaron goes to varius FFA shows in different counties and is looking forward to the upcoming Young Men’s Business League’s South Texas State Fair, set for March 30 to April 9 at Ford Park in Beaumont.

She will show Blaire on March 30 and Bee Bee on April 2 during the livestock show.

She has her sights set on next year already. She plans to show a pig and a steer. Recently she took part in a calf scramble at the Houston Rodeo and caught a steer, which, in turn, gave her the chance at showing a steer in 2018.

Madison LeBaron is the daughter of Glin and Misti LeBaron.

FFA is an intra-curricular student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership and is one of three components of agriculture education, according to the FFA website.