Missouri FFA and Agriculture Education | Blog
Latest news and reflections by Missouri FFA officers.
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Driving Lessons

Elizabeth Knipp, casual

Elizabeth Knipp, VP

When I was learning to drive, one of my favorite things to do was take my family’s farm truck out in the pasture to practice. One evening, as I was headed back to my house, I took a short cut through an area in the pasture where we fed our cows hay during the winter months. I began driving on top of what I assumed to be solid ground. Halfway through the shortcut, the truck started to sink into the ground. Not wanting to stop, I pushed my foot down on the gas pedal to go faster only to be stuck in the mud with my tires spinning. As I looked out the driver’s window, I noticed what I had presumed to be solid ground was in fact loose hay spread on the surface, covering the muddy ground below. My shortcut had caused a much larger problem. Every day, we encounter shortcuts that seem the easiest route for us to take. Though tempting, these shortcut actions inhibit us from being the best versions of ourselves and lead us to overlooking important details. I encourage each of us to full-heartily complete tasks, from committing to a contest team to giving a speech in class, with the best of our abilities we can gain the most from these experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

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Grab Opportunities to Reach Success

Emily Blaue, casual

Emily Blaue, VP

I remember being in the third grade, dreading each day of school knowing that no matter how much I willed that day, or that school year to go by faster, it never failed to drag on and on. Now as a freshman in college, I can’t believe how fast the first half of the semester has gone. Not only have I finished some of my classes already, I’ve also done what I had once thought impossible: taken a college midterm.

 

For some of us, the school year or even just the year in general, seems to get slower and slower while we anxiously await the next holiday, shopping trip or FFA event While this might seem true, we often forget that time itself is a force to be reckoned with. The interesting thing about time is that it is something that can only be taken and used, rather than given back. How we use the time we have been given is up to us just like the opportunities that are presented to us through our FFA careers.

 

One of my favorite stories is that of the Greek God Caerus, who was the personification of opportunity, luck and favorable moments. Caerus was known to be mischievous and quick, yet easily caught by the hair hanging over the front of his face. But once he had passed by, if you missed his front hair, you could never again grasp him, the back of his head being bald. The moment of action is gone with his hair and an opportunity not fully taken advantage of cannot be recovered.

 

What a great representation of how we must approach opportunities! Within our FFA careers we will be faced with many opportunities. These chances for success range from contests to making networking to even learning experiences. We must grasp the front hair of the opportunity per say or we will miss it as it passes us. Rarely are we ever given another chance to take that same opportunity. While we might be wishing this year to go by faster and faster and wishing for that sweet feeling of freedom, we must remember to not let opportunities pass us while we are wishing them away. We must grab the opportunity as it approaches and embrace it with full confidence of reaching success.

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Be Too Quick to Shut the Gate

Mariah Fox, casual

Mariah Fox, 1st VP

At seven years old, I spent my summers traveling the state with my market show hogs. My hogs were my best friends, and I had a specific routine with them every single day. This routine included washing, walking and feeding them twice every day. Morning and night, my dad would come to the barn with me to complete the routine and make sure it was completed correctly.

 

One morning, I pleaded with my dad to let me take care of the pigs by myself. He was hesitant to this idea, but in the end, allowed me to. I ran up to the barn that morning and did the chores. Later that day, after the chores were done, I was with my grandma. As I was helping her bake in the kitchen, I heard the phone ring and it was my dad. He asked me about that morning, and explained that I had forgotten one vital piece of the morning routine: I had failed to shut the gate! I was so embarrassed I had forgotten the most important part.

 

Sometimes, we are quick to shut our gate to opportunities and stand behind the fence scared or worried we won’t succeed. However, succeeding and failing are both a part of growing. To succeed, we must open our gate to the amazing opportunities FFA offers in making lasting memories with your friends in the FFA.

 

 

 

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2017 National Chapter Awards

The National Chapter Award Program is designed to recognize FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality Chapter Standards (NQCS) and a Program of Activities (POA) that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership.

 

  • Marshall FFA is a finalist in Model of Excellence while 23, Three Star Chapters will be named.
  • Premier Chapter: Growing Leaders Finalist — Paris FFA and Sweet Springs FFA.
  • Premier Chapter: Building Communities Finalist—Marshall FFA.
  • Premier Chapter: Strengthening Agriculture Finalist—Sweet Springs FFA.

 

Learn more about FFA’s National Chapter Award program.

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Agriscience Fair: 13 Missouri Finalists Named

Missouri FFA is honored this year with 13 finalists in the National FFA Agriscience Fair.

Missouri FFA is honored this year with 13 finalists in the National FFA Agriscience Fair, which recognizes student researchers studying the application of agricultural scientific principles and emerging technologies in agricultural enterprises. The agriscience fair is for middle and high school students. Participation begins at the local level and progresses to state and national levels.

 

Congratulations to all of Missouri’s national finalists.

 

LEARN MORE about National FFA’s Agriscience Fair at https://www.ffa.org/participate/awards/agriscience-fair.

 

 

 

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Celebrating Our Successes: Gearing up for National FFA Convention

A record 532 Missouri FFA members will receive the American FFA Degree at the 2017 national convention.

Life-changing! The National FFA Convention & Expo and its sea of blue jackets brings FFA members together from all corners of the nation to one place in celebration of their accomplishments and to find inspiration for their next. From motivational keynote speakers and energetic concerts to fulfilling workshops and a sweeping Expo floor bustling with agriculture education and industry opportunities, you’ll be snapping pictures and grabbing videos of experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime.

 

GET this year’s schedule online HERE.

 

A record 532 Missouri FFA members will receive the American FFA Degree at this year’s national convention. Join other FFA members across the state as we celebrate our successes through the Agriscience Fair, Proficiency Awards, National Chapter Awards and Career Development Events.

 

 

 

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The Salt Shaker

Elise Bailey, casual

Elise Bailey, VP

The second week of September I had the opportunity to witness more than 400 members from the Area V FFA Association pack their “toolboxes” full of leadership skills to use throughout the upcoming year. Their eagerness to come and learn new things through workshops facilitated by their area officers sparked some enthusiasm in my own mind to learn new things and grow as an individual.

 

Thinking about packing their toolboxes reminds me of a time at my grandma’s house when I was younger. I took the task upon myself to fill the salt shaker. Standing over the sink with the shaker in one hand and the can of salt in the other, I began to pour the salt into the bottom of the shaker. My grandma walked in the kitchen and began laughing as the salt poured out the top of the shaker as I filled it up.

 

This silly image reminds us that it is important to contain the things that are being poured into us in order to fulfill our purpose. Whether at the Area Leadership Conference, sitting in the classroom, or practicing on the ballfield after school, we have so much “salt” to encompass in ourselves. I encourage you to find the ambition to learn new things and embody the salt that those around you are pouring into you on a daily basis.

 

 

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One More Mile

 

Mariah Fox, casual

Mariah Fox, 1st VP

“Come on Fox, one more lap and you’re done!” The word done pounded in my head. My body was aching as I made the first turn of my final lap, I was ready to collapse. My exhaustion was coming from the most dreaded event for any 7th grader. That event was the Presidential Fitness Challenge. This annual event includes physical activities required to pass our P.E. class. The final activity of the challenge is the mile. All the events were easy, except the mile. In previous years, I stopped and gave up on the third lap. This time I was going to succeed and make Presidential. As I made my way around turn two on my final lap I was ready to give up the mile. I slowed to a walk, but then I heard a voice in the distance. It was my P.E. teacher yell, “You can do it”. As she said this, I looked up and saw others yelling the same thing. Their encouragement motivated me to finish the race. I finished the mile and made Presidential Fitness. I realized then that those around you want you to succeed. Your parents, fellow members, and especially your FFA advisors. They all want to make your time in the FFA successful and without any regrets. FFA members, I challenge you to go the extra mile in everything you do. Remember, there is always someone at the end to congratulate you on your success!

 

 

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Embrace

 

Justin Belew, casual

Justin Belew, VP

I vividly remember the day I drove by myself for the very first time. Most of us have either felt that feeling of freedom or we will soon discover it. The importance of this experience lies most in the type of vehicle I was driving. My first automobile was a 1996 Red Ford Ranger. I can promise you that not only did it have multiple shades of red and pink, but also there was not a single area of the entire truck that didn’t either have a ding, dent, scratch or was missing paint. That truck was at the very least, unique.

 

When I first drove that truck to school, I remember wondering what my peers would think. Would they make fun of the truck? Would they make fun of me? What I soon realized was that it didn’t matter what anyone said about the truck as long as it accomplished its purpose. As young adults we often question where we fit in the societal norm, but in reality being unique and playing to those strengths are what help us succeed.

 

We are all unique in our own ways, just like that red truck, and no one can deny the passions and qualities that define us. FFA members, face every challenge with the advantage of your exclusive skill set and be proud to embrace the weird quirks that make you human.

 

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To Infinity and Beyond

 

Rhiannen Schneider

Rhiannen Schneider, VP

Growing up, one of my most favorite things to do was to watch the movie Toy Story. I absolutely LOVED the characters, and I longed for the day that my toys would start talking to me. However, the admiration for this seemingly silly children’s movie did not dissipate as I grew older; it instead continued to grow as I did.

 

When I heard the news of Toy Story 4 being a possible release in 2017, I began to reflect upon what it was that made the Toy Story movies so great. As I re-watched the movies, I realized Buzz Lightyear’s signature phrase, “To infinity and beyond” was something that people of all ages could to relate to.

 

This year is full of incredible opportunities for Missouri FFA members. From career development events to Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs and speaking contests, the opportunities to help share agriculture’s story are endless. Regardless of what this year might hold for you, each one of us can live like Buzz — to infinity and beyond. Every one of us has the power to go to infinity and beyond in all our chapter activities, leadership events and contests. Although we might not always hit the bullseye, if we strive for greatness and improvement in all we do, we will be successful.

 

As you tackle your year, remember to go to infinity and beyond in everything you do. In the wise words of American basketball coach, Pat Riley, “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” Be excellent this year.

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Celebrating Summer’s Activities

Abby Bertz

Abby Bertz, President

Our summer together has come to an end, but it was absolutely a blast while it lasted! We enjoyed a week of FFA Leadership Camp, AOI, HYMAX and HYPE. It could not have been more fun!

August was a month to remember for sure. I know that so many of you worked tirelessly with your fair exhibits all summer long to get them looking their best for the one, the only, the best time there is —THE MISSOURI STATE FAIR. Whether this preparation was catering to livestock, fertilizing your garden treats, restoring a prize tractor, or perfecting your ag mechanic projects, I know first-hand the time and effort that it took to get your projects to fair quality. So congratulations, fairgoers and friends!

At the fair, you might have heard of a super cool event that took place on Tuesday, the 15th — Food Insecurity Service Day. Approximately 400 of our absolutely awesome FFA members gathered together at the state fair to pack 50,000 meals for hungry tummies across rural Missouri. Way to embody the “living to serve” portion of the FFA motto, my friends! If you didn’t make it to the fair this year, I hope next year’s fair is calling your name.

This year’s Missouri State Fair brought FFA members countless opportunities and memories, and this school year will, too! This is a new school year full of exciting, unique things. Take advantage of each one. Trust me, you will not regret it.

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Time to Slow Down

Abby Turner

Abby Turner, VP

Spending time at the Missouri State Fair was the perfect way to wrap up a summer of service. From carnival rides to the rodeo, and from corndogs to livestock shows, the fair has something for everyone. This year, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Forgey, a veterinarian who performs health checks on breeding sheep at check in. It appeared as though we had endless trailers to unload. To say the least, I was not excited for the daunting task ahead, however Dr. Forgey seemed as though he could not be more relaxed. He would chat with me while exhibitors were unloading their sheep and half way through the night he said, “Have you noticed how even the youngest kids help prepare the animals? That’s what is so special about the fair.” This comment caught my attention and instead of thinking about the endless trailers, I started to notice how Dr. Forgey went above and beyond to not only check the animals, but also help the exhibitors and their families in any way possible. His easy-going demeanor made the check-in process enjoyable. After spending the evening with Dr. Forgey I had a new appreciation for the hard work show families put into their animals, and how the fair brings everyone together.

As we move forward with this new school year, whether you are a freshman or a senior, I challenge you to take a piece of Dr. Forgey’s patient attitude. Often, I find myself getting too caught up in deadlines and moving onto the next challenge that I forget to take a breath and enjoy the journey. As classes begin and fall activities start packing our schedules, let’s not forget to slow down and appreciate the special moments that are happening all around us.

 

 

Many will get caught up in how the year is over and be sad that it has come to an end. I challenge you to instead be eager for the start of a new year.

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