Just a few short years ago, Wildorado Independent School District in the panhandle of Texas had a murky future. With the local community declining and students opting to attend larger districts nearby, the school board knew it had to make a change – and do so quickly. The change it banked its future on was the success of the local agricultural education program.
Cody Joe Bonds, the Wildorado agriculture teacher, was brought on to build an agriculture and FFA program. Little did he know, the creative thinking and passion of his students would lead to this small town becoming home to the only student-led seed stock operation in the country, the Wildorado Cattle Company.
“We thought this would be a great opportunity to get involved in the agriculture program, knowing that we were going to be able to start it, knowing that I was going to get to be a leader and a pioneer,” says Harris Albracht, FFA member and sales event manager at Wildorado Cattle Company.
This pioneering spirit not only led to the success of the cattle company, but also caught the attention of the American Angus Association. This collaboration led to the production of a full-length documentary highlighting the students who run the company.
“The association and Angus breeders across the country really believe in investing in the future,” says Rachel Robinson, producer of the documentary, Wildorado. “We encourage connections between young breeders and getting people involved in agriculture who aren’t otherwise. And video is a great way to connect with people and tell those stories. The coolest thing about this story is that this town is using its agriculture students and Angus cattle to restore its community and build up the next generation.”
Over the course of the documentary, viewers get to know the history of the town, the transformation of the school system, the students who run the company as more than just a school project and the difficulties they overcame to pull off a successful sale.
“I wanted these students to see that just because there are people who doubt you, it doesn’t mean you don’t just keep plugging along and keep trying,” Bonds says. “That relentless spirit seems to echo with all agriculturalists and allows them to keep pushing through the joys and discomforts of an agricultural life.”
The documentary aired on RFD-TV in December 2019 and can be found on YouTube as a part of the I Am Angus campaign.