Wednesday, January 27, 2016


During my sophomore year of high school I had the opportunity to deliver a speech to the Agricultural Policy Committee in the House of Representatives.  As my dad and I walked the steps leading to the capitol, a stranger exiting the building recognized the blue corduroy jacket of my official dress and exclaimed “Thank you, FFA!” to me. His recognition of the blue corduroy, the tradition it holds, the opportunities it provides, and the FFA family it creates are just a few of the things that continue to amaze me about the National FFA Organization.
From the beginnings of 33 members from 18 states in 1928, to the current roster of 629,367 members from every state in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the National FFA Organization continues to grow in its members from all walks of life. While the numbers are continually changing, the tradition and history of FFA is rooted deeply. Agriculture impacts everyone every day. They knew that in 1928, and we know it today. 
Because of this awareness, we are fortunate to participate in Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE) and Career Development Events, further expanding our knowledge and abilities to understand the world around us and the impact we are able to make on it. Because I was raised on a dairy farm, I was able to use my work on the farm as my SAE where I completed records and also opened opportunities with award applications within FFA. Through my SAE, I learned more about my farm, discovered why things are run the way they are, gained new experiences by completing new tasks, and evaluated the skills I had gained without realizing it. This process helped me realize the love and desire I have to continue working with my dairy cattle.
Farmers farm because they have a love for the land and animals. I have met FFA members working in similar fields as myself and gained an entirely new perspective just by learning about their farm and how their background has led them to the place they are today.  Production agriculture is so important to fulfill the needs of our growing world. This is where FFA began. Where does your FFA story begin?
One of my favorite things about FFA is it not only involves farm kids, like the charter members back in 1928, but students from any background have a place to belong. “Premier Leadership, Personal Growth and Career Success” are three things that have completely created the person I am today. 
In the summer of 2013, I attended the Washington Leadership Conference with over 300 individuals from many states. A few of these included my roommates, Claire (Arkansas), Chloe (Georgia), and Ellen (California). The spark for life, change and motivation occurring at this conference can only be explained by experiencing it. We ended one particular evening of reflections by writing a letter to ourselves. At that time, I was struggling. I couldn’t seem to get over the idea that I would never be as good as my siblings. I believed in a notion that I had to do the same things as them, but better, in order to be successful. I was just going through the motions, I wasn’t believing what I was doing because I was convinced I was a failure when I compared myself to them. In that letter to myself, I had finally come to a realization and wrote it down; “In order to create footprints of your own, you must first stop trying to fill the footprints of others.”
Since that evening, I have not compared myself to my siblings one time. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I have joy. I know who I am. I know what purpose I was created for. Opportunities provided by FFA are like no other and I am extremely thankful and blessed for those around me who continue to support me and my endeavors. How has FFA helped you realize your purpose?
FFA family is real. In challenging times and successful times, my FFA family is always there. Whether they are current or former teammates, friends around the state and nation, or my actual family, there is always a shoulder to lean on, mind to bounce ideas off of, and heart to hold you accountable and help you grow in the most loving way. There is a one-of-a-kind community within FFA. At the National FFA Convention, the 65,000 FFA members in attendance are like one big, loving family. There is a certain feeling of belonging and excitement in a place you may have never been before with thousands of strangers that I have only experienced at convention. These connections and relationships go far beyond convention. They are friends for life, future coworkers, and role models to those all around them. I have never met students who are as driven, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about life than those involved in FFA. Who have you met through FFA that has made a difference in your life?
Thank you dad, mom, Luke, Erin and Nathan, for being my first role models in life and FFA. FFA has truly shaped me into the person I am. I am #FFAProud of turning tradition into passion.

How are you #FFAProud?

Stationed by the ear of corn,

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