“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” ― Anthony G. Oettinger
This weekend was very bitter sweet. It was our last state executive meeting before our annual Missouri FFA Convention. I think back on this past year and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. That’s all I get, one year; a year to make a difference in the lives of FFA members and getting to play a key role serving alongside one of the greatest student organizations. I think back at all of the great memories made, all of the laughs and stories shared, and I am truly blessed.
Career and Technical organizations, such as the FFA, play a key role in the lives of students and their development of life skills. These organizations help students become engaged in their community, help guide them into their career paths, and motivate students by providing hands-on learning, meeting with future employers, and allowing place for students and teachers who share similar interests.
So here I am to tell my FFA story, and like most nervous freshman in High School, I was scared of finding my purpose and where I would fit in a rather large intimidating school of over 2,500 students. Growing up on a farm and being involved in 4-H for a number of years made my decision to try FFA pretty easy. Agriculture, however, was not always involved in what career paths I chose over the years. I could tell you that at a very young age I once dreamed about being the first woman president, a ventriloquist, and an astronaut. While these are all very prestigious careers none of them quite had to do with agriculture. Going through my adolescent years I can tell you that I struggled with finding who I was, where I fit in, and where I wanted to go in life. It was the FFA organization that provided me with the knowledge and skills to help me find my passion and the ability to act upon it.
FFA can mean a lot of different things to everyone. When I think of the National FFA Organization, I think about an organization that strives to help their members develop premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. I owe a lot to the FFA and am so thankful for the opportunities it has given me over the years. In just a few short months I will be finished with my term as a Missouri FFA state officer. This year I was reminded of the impact we have on the lives of students, and by helping provide a place for students to grow as individuals has made me hopeful for a great generation of agriculturalists to come. I will forever be an FFA nerd and am proud of it.
“Value the past, embrace your future”- Missouri FFA Association
Attending the Missouri Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Tan-Tara is something that my parents and I have enjoyed many times over the years, but this past weekend was my first time to attend the conference in full commitment toward pursuing a career in agriculture. I had the most amazing time reminiscing with old friends, and making new ones. Throughout the conference, workshops are held that teach us young farmers the importance of agvocacy, what important legislation will have an effect on our industry, and share ideas for new farming techniques. This conference has always been something I looked forward too every year, and although it’s been a few years since I have been, I am reassured of the positive impact Farm Bureau has had in my life. I am truly blessed to have grown up around such great people and I can’t wait to continue my career in this wonderful industry.
This week couldn’t have been a better week for agriculture. Having a Farm Bureau conference this weekend and then kicking off FFA week the very next day has got me ready for this week’s events! The National FFA organization has been a huge part of my life and I am so excited to spend this year’s FFA week giving back to its members serving as a State Officer this year. This week has got me full of fun-filled chapter visits where I will be teaching students the importance of premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. This Thursday is also the Area 9 FFA banquet where students will be recognized on their successes from this year. The establishment of FFA by 33 farm boys in 1928 marked the start of one of the largest student organizations. Today there are over 550,000 members, 25,000 of them call Missouri their home. I proudly wear my blue jacket that represents a movement of young agriculturalists all over the country. So this week I encourage my readers to help spread the message of FFA and share some of your favorite FFA memories and lessons as we celebrate 85 wonderful years of this great organization.
“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be” – George Sheehan
This past weekend I was reminded of a legacy, a legacy that farmers and families carry on in representation of how we take pride in who we are and where we come from. My grandfather was always one who knew the importance of hard work, determination and vision. For years they struggled, living in one bedroom houses with four kids and not much to call their own. Although he may not have been proud of these moments in his life, he saw the bigger picture; he loved his family and had a vision for what he wanted for them. He had a passion in life and that was agriculture. Buying every farm he could with what little paychecks that came he built a great legacy, a farm that he could call his own and a place to teach not just his own children, but anyone willing to put on a pair of gloves, the meaning of hard work, strength, and determination.
Every day I am thankful of the life that has been given to me and the legacy that I proudly take with me. Although my grandfather passed away this past week, his lessons of “cowgirls don’t cry” will always stay with me. Some days we will come to a rough time in our lives, where we just have to trust in ourselves and the Lord to know that we are on the right path. It takes courage, determination, and will to accomplish your goals in life. Farmers take great pride in what they have built for them and their families all in effort to build a better future for their children and to help feed those around them.
This year has been one heck of an adventure. I can’t believe how fast my first year of college has gone by. It feels like only yesterday when my only responsibility was to see what I could do to pester my dad around the farm. It’s crazy to think that only last year I lived in a town with less than 600 residents, now I have over 160,000 people to now call my neighbors. It has definitely been a big change, but I have an amazing and supporting family that has made sure that I am not alone.
One thing I will never forget and will always keep with me during this time away from home, is the lessons I have learned about life over the years and never giving up on my dreams. At six years old I was to say the least, the biggest tomboy. I can remember climbing up into the cab of my dad’s 1986 International Harvester and felt as if I were on top of the world. My dad, however, seeing me trying to start the thing, had different ideas. He began his long speech “dangers” of being on such a large piece of equipment, the only thing running through my mind was the thought that I was destined for the open field.
When the time had finally come, and I was ready for my first tractor driving lesson, the job was simple; I had to move the bales that sat in the field into two rows along the side. So I started by myself and my rows were all over the place, I was having trouble catching the bale on the spike, and every bale was turning over. I was frustrated and ready to give up. Even though farming was always something I wanted to be a part of, I was ready to quit. My dad came to me and he looked at my row and started laughing, all of my bales were turned on their sides, but he told me that just because I didn’t get it today, doesn’t mean I won’t be able to SOMEday.
Like many times in our lives, an obstacle was thrown my way and I was ready to quit. I was going to give up on my love for agriculture because I failed and I was afraid of failure. We can’t let the bumps in the road force us turn back from where we are going. I was forced to learn from my mistakes, a crucial lesson that has carried with me today. I know I have a purpose in this world, and we can’t let the little things that happen keep us from reaching our goal and following our dreams. Some may say that a degree in agriculture is nothing special, but to me it is the most amazing dream. Agriculture a huge part of our everyday lives, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.