Recent events in the business world, as well as in private life, have shown us that ethics are amiss in today’s society. Wall Street scandals, domestic violence and global terrorism are heard of everyday on the news, and the occurrences are rising. Though we cannot directly attribute these acts of evil to one stimulus, it goes without saying that a lack of ethics and integrity is largely to blame.


Recent events in the business world, as well as in private life, have shown us that ethics are amiss in today’s society. Wall Street scandals, domestic violence and global terrorism are heard of everyday on the news, and the occurrences are rising. Though we cannot directly attribute these acts of evil to one stimulus, it goes without saying that a lack of ethics and integrity is largely to blame.

One can theorize that a return to core values and beliefs would serve as a simple remedy to the spreading epidemic of scandals and social discord. At Fowler FFA, we are fully engaged in a war against the destruction of ethics, at both local and regional levels. One of the key elements of our weaponry consists of ten principles that are based on core values that were demonstrated by cowboys of the old west, and is known as the Code of the West, written by James P. Owen.

While working several years at a successful Wall Street Career, Mr. Owen witnessed acts that utterly dismayed him. In 2003, he began working toward becoming an inspirational author, speaker and film producer. Mr. Owen had always been intrigued by the way of the old west; cowboys were inspirational to him. They lived by a code; an unwritten creed that kept ethics alive and well. So, it was no surprise when Mr. Owen’s first best-seller was titled Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street can Learn from the Code of West.

In Cowboy Ethics, Mr. Owen put the creed of the cowboys to paper, and simplified it into ten principles that ultimately comprised the Code of the West. The principles are as follows:

1. Live each day with courage.    
2. Take pride in your work.
3. Always finish what you start.
4. Do what has to be done.
5. Be tough but fair.
6. When you make a promise, keep it.
7. Ride for the brand.
8. Talk less and say more.
9. Remember that some things aren't for sale.
10. Know where to draw the line.        
Over the next six weeks, Fowler FFA, at the direction of myself, Cade Sallee, will be conducting a miniseries, titled The Code of the West; Alive and Well in the Ark Valley, which will elaborate on each of the ten principles of the Code of the West. Following this issue, there will be a weekly article that designates two principles as “Principles of the Week.” I would encourage readers to put emphasis on these principles, and see how they can relate them to their own lives. Not all of us are cowboys; but I truly believe that we can all relate the Code of the West to our lives in some way. In the next six weeks, I plan to demonstrate to the public exactly how to relate the code to their own lives. By promoting the Code of the West, I hope to inspire each and every one of our readers to develop a creed of their own; a list of principles that defines them and helps them stick to their own morals and ethical belief systems.
The Code of the West has proven time and time again to be a useful curriculum in boosting self-esteem and ethics levels of students nationwide. The most outstanding instance was demonstrated by Mrs. Ann Moore, a brilliant educator at Cherry Creek High School, when she took the code and turned it into a curriculum to educate and inspire students to be ethical and hard-working in society. It has been so successful, that she now teaches cowboy ethics as a class, using ideas from the books Cowboy Ethics and The Try, both written by Mr. James P. Owen.
We can all learn something from cowboys. Of all the people I have encountered in my life, cowboys have consistently been the most well-grounded and dignified when it comes to doing what’s right. We have observed this, most notably, in the fight against the United States Military’s Pinon Canyon Expansion. The Code of the West is effective not only because cowboys are well-grounded, but because they stand for something. A cowboy stands for something much greater than himself. He belongs to a brotherhood that puts no one before GOD and nothing before doing what is right; no matter the cost. Help Fowler FFA continue to fight for what’s right and what is dear to us. Help us preserve the way of the old west.
The end of our series will mark the beginning of National FFA Week. At Fowler FFA, we are very proud of the western heritage that exists in the Arkansas Valley. That is why we are here to promote and preserve the way of life that we have come to know and love. Last year, Fowler FFA led the state in the adoption of the Code of the West as the Colorado FFA Association’s Code of Ethics. I am proud to have personally presented the code to my peers, and to have had the privilege of overseeing its promotion in our district and state. Please watch for announcements for Fowler FFA’s events, and plan to attend some of these events. Supporting your local FFA chapters should be viewed as an investment in the future of the Arkansas Valley, as we are developing tomorrow’s leaders in agriculture, and creating hope and promise of a more prosperous tomorrow. Agricultural sustainability in the region means economic growth and stability for years to come.
If you would like more immediate information, or would like to view other books written by Mr. James P. Owen, please visit www.cowboyethics.org, home of the Center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of society through ethical beliefs. Thank you so much for viewing this week’s edition of The Code of the West; Alive and Well in the Ark Valley, and remember to watch for us next week!