Tuesday, February 24, 2015

FFA Week

This week marks one of the biggest times of the year in the FFA world. It is National FFA week which spans from February 21st-28th this year. Throughout this week many states, chapters, and members are participating in different activities to show their pride for the organization. These activities can range from Ag Olympics, FFA Trivia, Teacher Appreciation, Dress Up Days, and FFA Advocating.

One of my favorite FFA week activities I participated in  was our teacher breakfast and our teacher pie day. These activities where not only my favorite because we got some delicious food afterwards, but we received an amazing opportunity to show the staff in our school how much we appreciate them. As FFA members we are constantly going to an event or preparing for the next, so it is always important we have the support of the rest of our school staff so we can stay on top of the number one focus, academics. Our teachers have a great deal of patience and understanding, so it is vital they don’t go unrecognized for the support they give to our chapters to let us do out of school activities. This concept can be taken far beyond FFA. We know how great it feels to know you are appreciated, so we can’t let that appreciation stop at us. Every day use this principle to show how much you appreciate the support of your parents, friends, co-workers and other people in your life.

This Thursday many FFA members from across the state have a unique opportunity to travel to the Minnesota State Capitol and speak with legislators about the importance of agriculture, agricultural education, and FFA. Advocating and expressing our passion for the FFA is a major part of FFA week, whether this is in our own school, community, or at the government level. This is crucial because all three groups of people give us a substantial amount of support, and if we don’t advocate for the FFA and agriculture, it may not be there for future generations. Like appreciation this skill goes far beyond the blue jacket; advocating is something we will always use, whether it be for our personal beliefs, our children, or our careers. Just like FFA we need to show our passion and advocate for the things we love, so it is there for the future. 

As FFA week progresses we should take advantage of all the opportunities it provides and find ways to use the skills we learn beyond the jacket. Use the spirt of appreciation during FFA week and spread it around the rest of our life all year long. Never give up a change to advocate for our great organization. Minnesota FFA has great ways to do this on Instagram with this week’s photo challenge, on Twitter with our monthly #FFAChat and on all social media with #ForeverBlue.


Stationed by the Emblem of Washington

Brady Wulf

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

True Opportunity

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend two days at the Capitol and attended a meeting where I was able to spend a little over an hour hearing from the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. These experiences were valuable because they helped me connect, learn and get involved with the people and issues in policy!

No matter where you may be, there are always opportunities to connect with the people around you. When I was a sophomore in high school, I attended Ag Policy Bootcamp, now called the Ag Policy Experience Program, and met representatives and people involved with agricultural policy. Although I thought meeting these people was a great experience, I did not realize the value of the initial connections I made until I continued to see them again and again. Whether it was an FFA event or not, I continued to develop a stronger connection with these people that helped me to experience and learn more.

No matter who I was with, I began to see that when I engaged myself and asked questions, I was able to learn more and understand at a deeper level. This learning started with having a sincere interest in the topic being discussed and finding how it connected to my life. There is always a way we can learn more, connect the topic to our daily lives, and get involved.

Time after time throughout middle and high school I can remember teachers telling me to “get involved,” and “engage myself,” but I did not fully understand what they meant. Getting involved is not just about doing but rather about doing with purpose. When we are able to really get involved and become interested in what we are doing, we will learn and connect at a deeper level.

Whether we are connecting with Legislators at the upcoming FFA Day at the Capitol on Thursday, February 26 or getting involved with a school organization, these opportunities are exactly what we make of them. It is easy to go with the flow and do things just as others have, but it is much more beneficial when we take the time to truly connect, learn and get involved. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

What is AFA?

Have you ever heard about AFA? If not, you are sure missing out! Do not worry, this blog is going to give you a brief overview of what Agriculture Future of America is all about!

"AFA's mission is to create partnerships that identify, encourage and support outstanding college men and women preparing for careers in the agriculture and food industry."

Agriculture Future of America is an organization that is committed to developing young leaders into professionals in the agriculture industry. AFA offers career-development training and community and national scholarships for students interested in the future of agriculture. The AFA Leader Development Model perfectly depicts how AFA uses students' passion, commitment, and talent to further develop leaders' abilities. 

This past November, my teammate Dalton, and I had the amazing opportunity to attend AFA's Annual Leaders' Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. We got to take an awesome road trip down to KC with the other attendees that are from South Dakota State University only to meet other students from all over the country who share our passion of agriculture! AFA Leaders' Conference is a four-track program that is designed for college students at different professional and personal development levels. This year, Dalton and I attended track one. During this track, we learned about resume, career fair, and interview skills, professional etiquette in dining, discovering career paths in agriculture, dressing for success, Five Choices of Extraordinary Productivity, attended an opportunity fair, heard amazing speakers, and SO MUCH MORE. The Opportunity Fair allowed us to put what we learned into action by speaking with different companies in the agriculture industry about potential internships or other opportunities. This conference helped me grow exponentially in my leadership and professional development skills. It was also great for networking with people all over the country and making friends that will last a lifetime. I cannot wait to apply again for track two!

SENIORS AND COLLEGE STUDENTS - AFA offers community based and national scholarships for students pursuing a degree in the field of agriculture. Do you know what is awesome about this scholarship though? You get money for school AND a trip to AFA Leaders' Conference! Scholarship applications can be found at www.agfuture.org and are due MARCH 20! When? MARCH 20! Please do not miss out on some awesome opportunities and being a part of such a great organization!

Stationed by the Plow,

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Power of Positive Thinking

Something that can immediately brighten my day is when I receive a heartfelt compliment. Knowing that someone took the time to acknowledge my hard work or appreciate a skill of mine and then went out of their way to tell me goes a long way. Too often do I not give myself enough credit or take the time to pat myself on the back. I am one that always looks at what I could have done better. While it is good to constantly look for ways to improve, not taking the time to recognize the great things that have been accomplished can be a slippery slope to a lack in self-worth.

Reflecting back on my first semester of college there were times where I wasn’t happy with my performance. Instead of looking for a way to positively improve myself I would just focus on all the negative parts of myself and rarely if ever looked at the good I was accomplishing. This led me to be even more upset because I wasn’t improving since I just sulked around all day. This cycle continued on for longer than I’d like to admit.

Finally I got to the point where I was sick of being mopey and not happy so I really evaluated where I was and what I was doing and come to a novel realization. If I want to be happy then just focus on the parts of life that make me happy. I knew that I am capable of being a merry person and that it had more to do with my mindset than my circumstance. However, this is not a new idea. Abraham Lincoln has had this figured out for a while, “People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Ever since I’ve truly taken this mentality to heart I have seen improvements. Keep in mind it wasn’t that I flipped a switch and everything was better. I have to consciously remind myself of this multiple times a day, but every day I see myself doing it less and less. It isn’t always easy but so far it has been worth it. Having the right mindset also helps when it comes to changing circumstances as well. With a positive outlook being the first step many other parts of my life followed suit in making themselves better.

The reason why everything comes to work together is because all of those pieces are working to achieve one common goal, improving the overall quality of one’s life. At its core positive thinking is meant to boost the enjoyment of life and with that happiness is a side effect. With that, go and enjoy life simply because you think you should!
Stationed by the Rising Sun,
Jack Roessler