Due to the unprecedented times in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Missouri FFA in partnership with Missouri Farmers Care Drive to Feed Kids is offering chapters an opportunity to take part in a $300 matching mini-grant.
Faith. To me, faith is believing in things that are not always visible. Today when we look around it’s easy to believe what we see. What we see is hate, arguing and a lack of humanity. When we see these things, we can’t deny the fact that they are there, but we have to ask ourselves about all the good that we can’t see.
Toward the end of July, our state officer team joined our peers from across the nation online for the Virtual State Officer Summit. In four days, we were able to connect with and develop friendships with other state officers from all across the United States.
On the third day of my small group, we had an especially impactful conversation. We discussed the idea of looking past stereotypes and preconceived notions of those we meet and really getting to know people for who they are. We talked about how the majority of the time we decide to make our judgments of others based on what we don’t have in common rather than everything we do have in common. It is human nature to look at those around us and come up with judgments and assumptions, but we decide what to do with those judgments. Are we going to use them to assume we know all we need to about the other person, or will we disregard them and decide to actually get to know the person? You see, any time we meet someone we perceive as different than ourselves we have that choice. We have the chance to not succumb to our judgments, assumptions or stereotypes and find a way to connect with that person. Imagine if all those arguing in the world found just one thing they have in common. Maybe the picture in front of us would look a little bit different right now.
At some point in your lives, your faith will be shaken — whether that is the faith we have in ourselves, in the good Lord, or in our fellow human beings. What matters is that we don’t just look at what is put in front of us. I was lucky enough to be shown directly in my small group just how many people still believe finding commonalities is more important than finding differences. I was shown that even with all the arguing and disagreements going on today, there are still so many who see that that is not the way to go. They reminded me that no matter how much hate we are shown in the world, there will always be more good. These days we need just that. We need to show people just how much good we have in our world. We need to always find things we have in common with those we meet while paying no mind to the differences. I challenge you to do these things not just throughout the year, but throughout your lives, and to always keep your faith even when it becomes shaken.
After months of discussion and planning, Missouri FFA is excited to announce its new Vision 2020 Communication Plan.
Vision 2020 is a culmination of multiple media platforms including print, digital and video. Joann Pipkin, who has worked with Missouri FFA in a variety of communication capacities since 1996, serves as Missouri FFA’s director of communications. Former Missouri FFA State Secretary Brandelyn Martin Twellman is social media manager. Current Missouri FFA Mentor Kensi Darst joins the team as social media coordinator. And, Lacy Short, continues in her role as webmaster.
The new communication program officially kicks off in September with the Missouri Agricultural Education and FFA annual report. The printed coffee table-type publication will be distributed to chapters and program supporters across the state.
Beginning in October, the first digital newsletter will be published. Patterned after the Missouri FFA Today insert, which was previously distributed through National FFA’s New Horizons magazine, the bi-monthly publication will feature member- and chapter-driven content. In addition, Missouri FFA will continue its monthly eNewsletter, delivered through email to members across the state.
Highlighting the digital portion of Missouri FFA’s news communication protocol will be a stepped-up social media strategy. Members and supporters are encouraged to follow Missouri FFA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The communication team will work to bring Missouri agricultural education and FFA programs full circle with the organization’s website, missouriffa.org, servicing as the hub for everything Missouri FFA!
New to Missouri FFA’s communication strategy is a video component. Communication team members are developing a variety of visual content for agricultural education students including leadership development and SAE-based learning opportunities.
FFA members, agricultural education instructors and organization supporters are encouraged to get involved and submit their story ideas! Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
As I reflect back on my FFA journey, I realize that the most significant personal growth and leadership development I experienced happened at Missouri’s State Leadership Camp at Camp Rising Sun in the summer heat. Just a few months ago, I was preparing to meet more than 1,200 FFA members at the Lake of the Ozarks for the opportunity to help them grow while spending time in the Rec Hall, playing volleyball, and swimming at the waterfront. I was heartbroken when I heard about the cancellation of Missouri FFA Camp in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but I knew there was still work to be done to help FFA members develop those skills in leadership, teamwork and strategic thinking.
After countless hours of brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of FFA members, advisors, state officers and state staff, we created the Show-Me Summit: Missouri FFA’s Virtual Leadership Experience. Through the Show-Me Summit, FFA members across the state have the opportunity to interact with State FFA Officers and gain foundational leadership skills that will propel them towards success in the Missouri FFA Association and beyond.
Show-Me Summitis made up of six core leadership development workshops hosted by the 2020-2021 Missouri State FFA Officer Team on concepts like individuality, intentional leadership, teamwork, taking action, Missouri agriculture, and grit and resilience. These topics encapsulate the overarching concepts taught in the elective leadership sessions that typically happen at FFA Camp in the summer.
In addition to the six core leadership workshops, there are four supplemental modules: Don Koonce’s Speaker Series, the Missouri Agriculture module, the Living to Serve Project, and Teacher Resources, all designed to give students (and advisors!) a well-rounded leadership development experience from anywhere. For FFA members interested in earning their State Leadership Medal, the Living to Serve Project requires them to put those concepts they’ve learned throughout the Show-Me Summitinto action by performing some kind of community service activity and completing an application for consideration. Additionally, if participants complete the checklist featured in the Living to Serve module, they can list Show-Me Summitas a state activity on Missouri FFA award applications.
Workshops and supplemental modules are being released in phases beginning this month! Stay tuned for announcements on Missouri FFA’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can learn more about and participate in the Show Me Summit online at https://missouriffa.org/show-me-summit/. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gather ‘round chapter officers! The annual LEAD Chapter Officer Training Program is being offered this year in virtual format. The free training resource can be completed at your own pace!
“Core Sessions” are facilitated using videos of this year’s LEAD instructors. These virtual sessions will walk you through exercises that will be foundational to your year serving as a chapter officer. Although the time needed to complete the training might vary among chapters, it is recommended reserving a two- to three-hour meeting with your chapter officer team to complete the training.
This year’s “Core Sessions” provide training on:
For details on how you can take part in LEAD, contact your chapter advisor!
Two weeks into quarantine and social distancing, an idea popped into my head but I wasn’t sure how I was going to carry out the plan with so much uncertainty in the world.
On April 4, 2020, I sent a text message that read, “Hello, I am Kaylee Lower, a senior at Weaubleau High School. I was wanting to get in contact with an individual about making cards for all of the nursing home residents.” Little did I know that the text message I sent would have such a positive impact on the lives of nursing home residents.
As you go through your journey, I challenge you to do the little things in life because they are the ones that mean the most. Even when you think something is not going to make a difference, to some people, like the nursing home residents, it makes the biggest difference. Don’t be afraid to take part in the small, seemingly insignificant moments because those are the ones that are remembered the most. No matter how big or small, as FFA members we all have the capability to make a positive difference in our homes and communities.
I never imagined a handmade card would make nursing home residents smile so big until I made 100 of them for the residents at Northwood Hills Care Center. It’s the little things like hand made cards that these individuals will treasure forever.
Thinking back on April 4th, I was upset because I wasn’t able to finish my final year of high school or go to my last FFA contest, but then I began to consider a different perspective. We were all facing challenging and uncertain times; it’s how we choose to spend those times and the perspectives we have that make the greatest impact.
You have the choice to find good in the world or look straight past the good to stare at all the negativity. I challenge you to see the good and make a difference in your FFA chapter, home and community. Do the little things that mean the most and see the good in the world. Together they will leave a lifelong impact on those around you.
How are you going to find the good and make a positive impact on the world?
You and I are involved in the Missouri FFA and are part of the 25,920 FFA members that make up the Missouri FFA Association. We are involved! When I mean we are involved, I mean that we show up to events when we have to. We do as our advisor asks and nothing more, just simply be involved.
As a young FFA member I knew that I wanted to be more than just involved, I wanted to be committed to the FFA. Being committed to the FFA challenges us to do more than what we are expected to do, show up to every event possible, work our hardest towards our cause, and most importantly inspire the people that surround us. The most important explanation I can give for being committed is to do the unexpected for a cause and go above and beyond.
Our time in the FFA is limited, and that time can be spent either doing the bare minimum or going the extra mile to make the most of every moment. As you can see, being fully committed is not only important to yourself, but also to the people around you. It doesn’t matter if you are a player on the basketball team, a member of the oldest student-led organization in the world, or an employee at a company, you must be completely committed to what you are working towards. So, I hope that you can see your level of commitment plays a critical part in your life. When times seem to be getting tough and overwhelming, just remember that you are committed and can achieve anything you set your mind to. I will leave you with this self quote, “Make the most of your moment now because the moment you are in now will be a reflection of tomorrow’s moments. Always be committed to the moment!”
It was Feb. 4, 2019. I was exhausted and excited after a long night of watching one of my favorite sows have her litter of piglets. This litter, like many others, came with so much excitement for the upcoming months and seeing if the breeding selections and hard work had paid off. That spring, one of the Duroc gilts was quick to catch my family’s eye, and we knew she would turn out to be something special.
Fast-forward to the FFA show at the Missouri State Fair. It was the day so highly anticipated in the previous months. It was time for my gilt’s class. I was faced with having to take my eighth-place ribbon and exit the ring. Defeated. This pig that I had poured so many hours of time and energy into, had placed at the bottom of her class.
The next day was the open show. Though we had previously decided not to enter her into this show, my brother was angry and looking for anything to prove this gilt was better than what the previous judge had said. He decided we were giving her a second chance and entering into that day’s show. I was frustrated and beaten down. I told him that he could drive the gilt; I wanted nothing to do with her.
After much convincing, the next morning rolled around, and I was the one driving the gilt that had let me down the day before. I was pessimistic when the judge began penning the pigs from bottom to top. One by one, the other competitors in the ring took their places until it was just me and one other showman left. My heart was racing as he started his set of reasons and put my feisty gilt at the top of that class. After the defeat of the previous day, I got to take my gilt to the championship drive.
We went home with something so much better than the dark purple, champion ribbon: the light purple, reserve champion ribbon and a lesson in the form of an eighth-place ribbon that I will never forget. I will always cherish that eighth-place ribbon more than the reserve champion one. It showed me how to get back up. Do not let your past failures hinder your future success. We all fall short of our goals from time to time. It is in the times when failure comes and makes you feel defeated that success is appreciated to its full capacity.
There are two things to know about me before I start this story.
I failed my driver’s test the first time, and I was picked on non-stop for it. During this time I felt alone; I felt like the world was out to get me. During my second attempt, I was extremely nervous. I slowly pulled off the shoulder and kept my head turned to ensure that nobody else was coming. As I turned my head back around, I realized my worst dream had come true. I had blown a stop sign, and I hadn’t even started my test. I knew I was done for. I drove through the four-way, pulled onto the shoulder and put the car in park. I began to bawl my eyes out as the officer calmed me down, saying, “Don’t worry, the world’s not out to get you.” She reassured me that we could restart with a blank slate.
The rest of the driver’s test was a blur as I kept thinking that she was just letting me go through the motions until she eventually failed me. As I put on the emergency brake to end my test, my mood darkened, my head dropped and a frown appeared on my face while I waited for her to tell me that I failed. But, that didn’t happen. She said, “Congratulations, Colin! You’ve passed with a 70.”
This isn’t a story to encourage you to blow stop signs to pass your drivers test, but to remind you that nobody’s perfect. First impressions can be messy, so don’t let them close your mind. And, if you ever feel that you’re alone, just remember the world’s not out to get you.
March 18, 2020, 3:40 p.m. The last bell of the school day rang, and I walked out of the doors of the ag shop to my car, waved to my friends and pulled out of the gravel drive, not knowing when we would all return to Community R-VI to finish out our senior year. FFA members across Missouri and across the nation walked out of their schools and ag departments that week not knowing that was the last day of the normal school year. While many of us love FFA activities all year long, we as Missouri FFA members find ourselves living in the ag building most during spring preparing for career and leadership development events, working with our teammates to plan the end of the school year, and preparing for State FFA Convention. This spring all of that was changed as our country was navigating through COVID-19. FFA members, including myself, missed out on in-person spring CDE’s, LDE’s, banquets, graduations and even State Convention. I was pretty bummed out and in a bit of funk knowing that I wouldn’t be able to gather with other members to celebrate our many accomplishments.
I quickly decided that being bummed out was not doing me any good, and I was going to make the best out of the situation I was put in. I found a group on Facebook that was full of high school kids that were involved in the agriculture industry. While members of the page are from all across the United States, we were all able to find people with similar interests and talk about agriculture and what was currently going on in our world. It was because of our shutdown that I was able to find virtual opportunities and connect with FFA members across the country. By joining these groups I was finding something positive during such a negative time!
FFA members, I encourage you to take every opportunity you can! Whether that is signing up for that virtual conference, workshop, or even livestock show. While those activities might look a little different than normal, you can still network with individuals, learn new skills, and step out of your comfort zone. Many of us are very comfortable in a “live” setting but by having almost everything virtual we are having to step out of our comfort zones and try new things. While it might not be exactly how we want it, I encourage you to always keep a positive attitude, lean on others going through the same situation, and take every opportunity you can!
You never know the connections you will make and the opportunities that will arise when you make the choice to stay positive.
While some go straight into the workforce after high school, others choose to pursue higher education. When deciding on the right program for you and your career goals, you have some options from which to choose.
Also known as a vocational or tech schools, trade schools typically focus on job-specific areas of study. Many offer certificates or diplomas upon completion of classes teaching hands-on skills. Some trade schools also offer two-year associate degree options.
Community colleges are more likely to offer two-year associate degree programs. They provide a broader education in addition to job-specific skill training. Students who graduate from community colleges either enter the workforce with an associate degree or transfer to a four-year university.
While the sizes of universities vary, they are typically larger than other colleges or schools. Universities offer four-year bachelor’s degrees, and some offer graduate degrees as well. They offer a wider variety of classes and degrees, and they can either be public or private.
Overall, your choice of higher education is up to you. Size, location and program offerings may determine which type of school best fits your needs, so do your research and consider your options after graduation.
– Brandelyn Twellman
Have you ever been so tired that you can barely see straight? Well, I was at that point. I had been at the Missouri Public Speaking Academy for a week and went straight to the Missouri Cattlemen’s Show for the weekend. To top it off, it was so hot that I could literally see the heat waves rising off of the concrete. I wanted to sleep and desperately needed an air conditioner.
While I was in Sedalia for the show, my dad and I went to get some food. As we drove in the air conditioning, I was complaining about how tired I was. I said, “Dad, I don’t want to go to basketball practice on Monday morning because I don’t want to run.” Three seconds later, I saw a man on the side of the road in a wheelchair struggling to propel himself up a hill in the blistering sun. I was speechless and had never been more humbled. I am not proud of that moment in my life, but that day I learned an impactful lesson. Not only should I be thankful for what I have, but I also have a choice—I can either feel sorry for myself or be appreciative of what I have. English writer, William Arthur Ward, once said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” I made a choice to be thankful and appreciative of opportunities. Now, I live my life with a different perspective. This change in perspective has completely changed my day, my mood and the quality of my life. Missouri FFA members, will you get caught up in a busy schedule, failure and tiredness? Or, will you show gratitude towards the opportunities set before you?
What will you choose?
The 2020-21 Missouri State FFA Officers were confirmed June 16 during the business survey announcements segment of the 2020 virtual State FFA Convention.
Justin Eddy, Columbia FFA Chapter, will serve as the State FFA President. First Vice-President is Archie FFA member Mackenzie Porter. And, State FFA Secretary is Jenna Perry, Liberal FFA Chapter.
Serving Missouri’s nearly 26,000 state FFA members as vice presidents are: Rachel Holt, Chillicothe; Anna Milazzo, Grundy Co.; Erin Heinecke, Paris; Lauryn Robnett, Audrain Co. R-VI; Colin Wilburn, Van Far; Kiersten Helm, Lexington; Kaylee Lower, Weaubleau; Cade Shepherd, Mt. Vernon; Felicity Cantrell, Seymour; Lauren Gilbert, Chadwick; Dakota Pemberton, Richland; Madison Moll, Perryville; and Ricanna Spargo, Naylor.
This year might just be remembered as the year of firsts—including the first-ever virtual Missouri State FFA Convention. While state proficiency award winners, star finalists and national chapter activity awards were announced virtually in April, the official Missouri FFA Convention was held through a series of online video sessions June 16-18.
During the convention, Ms. Diane Olson was recognized with the Distinguished Service Citation. Olson has been involved with the promotion and advocacy of agriculture through the Missouri Farm Bureau and worked with the Missouri FFA for more than 35 years. She began her role with Farm Bureau in 1985 as the director of promotion and education. Her outstanding service has garnered her recognition as a state and national leader in the promotion of agriculture.
In the National Chapter Activity Awards area, Marshall FFA Chapter was tapped Top Chapter in the state and was named the Premier Chapter in Growing Leaders. These designations were selected from the 35 chapters recognized with a Missouri FFA Gold Emblem, a Top Chapter award. Marshall’s Growing Leaders activities included a program called Bacon SAEs Happen. As part of the activity, freshman FFA members were given the opportunity to create, market and sell an agricultural product for their first supervised agricultural experience program. Students divided into groups to develop individualized marketing plans and cure pork bellies. They then promoted their product through the chapter’s social media.
Also in the National Chapter Activity Awards area, Ashland FFA was honored as the Premier Chapter in Strengthening Agriculture. Ashland’s chapter activities in the strengthening agriculture category included Educating in the Barn, an interactive barnyard that allowed the community to learn more about FFA and agriculture through hands-on activities.
In the Building Communities awards area of National Chapter Activity Awards, Centralia FFA was honored as Premier Chapter. Centralia’s building communities activities included a program called Floods of Compassion. In the summer of 2019, rising flood waters threatened community members, land and structures. During the flooding, Centralia FFA filled sandbags for placement around the community. Afterward, members collected donations for Missouri and Nebraska Farm Bureau federations, and financially helped Centralia FFA members who lost their supervised agricultural experience programs.
During the Stars Over Missouri program of convention, Megan Schneider, Herman FFA Chapter, was named State Star in Agribusiness. Schneider’s SAE started with showing pigs. Eventually she started breeding and raising show pigs and feeder pigs. As her business grew, Schneider started selling a variety of pork meat products at local farmer markets and other outlets. Over time, Schneider has expanded her selection to include various beef and poultry products.
Eldon FFA member Destinie Tunis was selected as the State Star in Agriscience winner. Tunis’ supervised agricultural experience program involves the testing of cattle, horses, cats and dogs to determine if nitrates and histatins within the saliva can stop the growth of Escherichia coli k-12 and Staphylococcus epidermidis. This study is titled “The Antimicrobial Effects of Histatins and Nitrates Found in Saliva”.
The State Star in Agricultural Placement award was presented to Clint Bailey. As part of his supervised agricultural experience program, Bailey worked on this family’s commercial cow-calf operation. He then was hired to work at his cousin’s pumpkin patch. When his cousin went to college, he turned the pumpkin patch over to Bailey. As a sophomore in high school, Bailey began working at the Bowling Green Veterinary Clinic. After initially caring for dogs and the clinic’s kennel, he was charged with providing veterinary services at the Eastern Missouri Commission Company, a livestock market in Bowling Green. His duties then expanded to making large-animal farm calls.
Missouri FFA’s State Star Farmer was presented to Jacob Dierking, Santa Fe FFA Chapter. Dierking’s supervised agricultural experience program began in 2015 when he rented a 10-acre field from a neighbor to grow field corn. In 2019, his row-crop operation expanded to 306 acres of corn and soybeans. In addition, he does custom field work, lays drainage tile, and grows sweet corn, green beans, and Indian corn. Throughout Dierking’s SAE, to increase productivity, he purchased three tractors and numerous farm implements.
The 2020 Missouri FFA Convention can be viewed online at missouriffa.org.
—By Joann Pipkin