Missouri FFA and Agriculture Education | Blog
Latest news and reflections by Missouri FFA officers.
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Alumni Spotlight: Garrett Hawkins

Meet Garrett Hawkins, former Missouri FFA state vice president, and now Missouri’s Deputy Director of Agriculture.

Past Missouri FFA member Garrett Hawkins is a smalltown Missouri boy who likes to run, hunt and work on the farm. Sound familiar?

 

One distinction you’ll find is that this farm boy also works to protect Missouri’s nearly 100,000 farms through his position as deputy director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

 

As deputy director, Hawkins works with the director of agriculture, Chris Chinn, to oversee daily operations for MDA by protecting and promoting agriculture and serving farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and consumers.

 

“No two days are alike when you serve in a leadership role in MDA,” Hawkins says. “In any given day we are juggling multiple issues ranging from fuel quality to international trade.”

 

Although he enjoys his work, Hawkins admits that some parts of the job can be challenging.

 

Striking a balance between the state’s many needs is one challenge he encounters often. Conflicts arise from differing opinions, even from those within the agriculture industry. He and his team overcome this through listening to all opinions and studying laws and regulations.

 

“I always like to say that when we make a decision, we have weighed all options and done everything we can to make an informed decision,” Hawkins said.

 

This ability to work with people and handle challenges began with leadership positions he took on in high school, one of which was becoming chapter president of his local FFA chapter.

“Serving in leadership roles helped me build my character and become more skilled at bringing people together for a common purpose,” Hawkins says. “I owe FFA a lot for showing me leadership and communication and giving me the confidence to pursue leadership opportunities.”

 

One of the leadership opportunities he was empowered to pursue was becoming a Missouri FFA State Officer in 1998. His role as first vice president allowed him to further develop his public speaking and interpersonal skills, but most  important, it gave him a taste of what he could help others accomplish by stepping up as a leader.

 

“In my parents’ house in a closet I still have letters I received from FFA members throughout my year of service; being able to encourage them left an imprint on me,” Hawkins says. “I’m not saying this to pat myself on the back; it’s just so neat to see the impact students can have when they step into leadership roles in FFA. You can’t underestimate the impact that one FFA member can have on others when you show them you care. Every FFA member is in a position to lift someone up. You don’t have to have a title by your name.”

 

His thirst for leadership continued into college where he became a student ambassador and later interned for Missouri Farm Bureau.

That one internship paid off because in the fall of 2002, he was brought on full time with Missouri Farm Bureau.

 

“Our members will say that they helped raise me because when I joined the team, I was 22 and they saw me grow through the years in my career and personal life,” says Hawkins. “I learned so much in my 14 years on staff and truly honed my passion for agriculture. I loved working on issues that affect farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”

 

Although Hawkins found his passion while in school, when he began college, his goal was to become a high school ag teacher. However, he soon realized his skill set was better suited elsewhere. In 2002, he graduated from Missouri State University with a degree in agricultural business.

 

This degree change didn’t stop him from being involved in the organization he loved. Hawkins has been deeply involved with the Missouri HYPE and HYMAX academies through giving workshops to FFA members.

 

“I love working with high school students and helping them realize the importance of advocacy and understand issues that affect their families and communities,” Hawkins says. “I want to help build their knowledge and confidence, so they can join the conversation.”

 

This passion for Missouri ag policy was brought even closer to home when Hawkins, his wife Jennifer Hawkins and his children Adelyn, Colton and Tate, moved home to Hawkins’s family farm in Appleton City, Missouri, two years ago.

 

“Now that we’re actually living and working on the farm, that’s important to me,” Hawkins says. “I like working on the farm when I’m home and spending time with my wife and kids.”

 

He hopes to instill a love for working on the farm in his children, just as he and his wife had on their individual family farms.

 

“My passion for ag has been lifelong,” Hawkins says. “All of my extended family farms for a living. That lifelong passion is there because we’ve lived and breathed it every day.”

 

His ultimate hope is that those in agricultural leadership roles today can continue to pave the way for the next generation.

 

“We often talk about the challenges in our industry but there is tremendous opportunity ahead,” Hawkins says. “Our neighbors need us. Our communities need us. I’m always optimistic about the future of agriculture and am excited to know we have a great crop of enthusiastic, skilled young people to push this industry forward.”

 

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Stand Out SAEs

Riley Tade (right), a member of the Ashland FFA Chapter, earned honors as a national finalist in the goat production proficiency award area at the 2018 National FFA Convention. He said he learned the value of record keeping, hard work and setting goals through his Supervised Agricultural Experience project.

For many FFA members, their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) can create a pathway to their future endeavors, as well as lead to nationally recognized success.

 

Eleven Missouri FFA members were selected as national proficiency finalists and competed at the National FFA Convention in October. How did those members establish and grow their SAE projects to reach top honors? We caught up with some of this year’s national finalists. Read on as they explain how they built and managed their award winning SAE projects.

 

RILEY TADE

From the Ashland FFA Chapter, Riley Tade was a national finalist in goat production. Tade’s SAE focuses on raising market wethers to sell to other 4-H and FFA members. His project began with seven does that were purchased to clean up brush and sell for meat.

 

Tade began exhibiting his goats, which led him to change bloodlines and focus on raising a higher-quality animal. His herd has grown to 15 Boer-cross does and 10 Kiko does. With the change in genetics and direction in his herd, he is able to sell his goats for a profit.

 

“Once people have seen the goats that I show and sell, it has made it easier to market them,” he said. Tade explained the importance of keeping records to track progress, setting goals and working hard to achieve those goals to build a successful SAE.

 

In addition, he said it is key to listen and learn from other people who are knowledgeable in their SAE area.

 

“I would work to find a mentor in the area of your SAE and see if they will help you,” Tade explained. “Adults are very willing to help a kid that they see is committed and willing to work hard.”

 

A strong support system is also key.

 

Tade said his FFA advisors and parents helped him reach his goals. He has learned to always strive to improve his SAE through monitoring buying trends and then meeting those with a desirable animal. He encourages other FFA members to have fun with their SAE and meet people that will help them achieve their goals.

 

“Find an SAE that involves something you have a passion for,” Tade explained. “When you love what you are doing, it does not seem like work, and you will put more effort into it.”

 

JACOB DIERKING

Santa Fe FFA member Jacob Dierking plans to continue growing his Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project in the future as he enters production agriculture as his career. He was a 2018 national finalist in the grain production proficiency award area.

Jacob Dierking, a senior from the Santa Fe FFA Chapter, was a national proficiency finalist in grain production. His SAE began when he was given the opportunity to rent a field from his neighbor. He grew corn on the field and has since expanded his corn crop to 86 acres. The money he earned was used to purchase needed farm machinery including two tractors and other essential farm implements, to help produce the crop.

 

 

“I have a passion for farming, and that is what I enjoy spending my time doing,” Dierking said.

 

In addition, Dierking said his SAE taught him to work hard to achieve his goals, which he believes is the first step to building a successful SAE.

 

“Whether your goals are big or small, it helps to always have something to look “toward and build upon,” Dierking said.

 

Dierking said he dedicated a lot of time to his SAE and took advantage of opportunities that helped him expand his project. He encourages new FFA members to try different areas when beginning their SAE, finding a project they enjoy. Doing so will hopefully help them create an SAE that can transform into future plans, which has been the case for Dierking.

 

“I plan to expand my SAE into my life career of farming after I attend a two-year college,” he explained.

 

GRACE BOX

Grace Box, from the Neosho FFA Chapter, raises mums for her SAE project.

Neosho FFA member Grace Box chose to raise mums for her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) because it was a unique project. With the help of social media, she’s expanded her business to include customers in neighboring states.

A 2018 national finalist in the specialty crop proficiency award, Box grows Belgium hardy mums and markets them through her business called “Gracie’s Mums.” Box began by growing 100 mums in six different color varieties. Her business has now expanded to 400 mums in four different color varieties based on the previous year’s demand.

 

“I would not be where I am right now without my family, agriculture teachers, friends and my towns support,” BoxBox’s customers have helped her business blossom. A Facebook page helps with advertising needs. She has followers not only from the Neosho area, but also from Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

 

Box thought raising mums would be a unique SAE since no one else in her chapter had the project. She advises young FFA members to think outside the box and choose a project that helps set him or her apart. Members should then stay committed to their projects because it will be worth it in the end.

 

“My SAE has taught me how to take care of things and how to grow a successful business,” Box said. “It has helped me with my people skills and how to have salesmanship.”

–by Alison Bos-Lovins

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4 Tips to Jumpstart Your Career

 

1 – KEEP AN OPEN MIND.

Change is inevitable. When former FFA member and now Missouri Department of Agriculture  Deputy Director Garrett Hawkins started college, he wanted to be an ag teacher. Half way through, he realized it wasn’t the right fit and decided to study ag business. Bottom line, your first choice won’t necessarily be the right one for your skills and passions.

 

2 – DON’T FORGET SOFT SKILLS.

Technical skills are important, but you must be able to work with others to be successful in the long run. An ability to listen, write and speak will serve you well in any career.

 

3 – GET HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE.

This begins now through your SAE, community involvement and getting to know business leaders in your community. As you pursue the next step, get an internship. The right one might just open a door to a great career.

 

4 – LEARN AS YOU GO.

Humble yourself and have the mindset that you’re not going to start at an executive level position. You must acquire skills and learn the culture of the organization. Be satisfied in what you’re doing and know that opportunities to advance will come. Show that you’re willing to work hard, be a team player and try new things.

–by Alexa Nordwald

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Small Town Service

Size can be relative. In the case of Bosworth, Missouri, that’s exactly the case.

With a population around 300, little things like a community garden can make a big difference.

That said, FFA Advisor Melissa Eiserer saw an opportunity to better her community and she took it.

 

LIVING TO SERVE

After seeing information about Living to Serve (LTS) grants in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announcements, Eiserer realized it would pair well with the school board’s desire to have a garden at their school.

LTS grants provide an opportunity for FFA chapters to seek funding to support a variety of service projects through a competitive application process.

Applicants must identify a community need that falls within one of four focus areas:

  • Community Safety
  • Hunger, Health and Nutrition
  • Environmental Responsibility
  • Community Engagement

Eiserer, who has taught at Bosworth for eight years, said she met two, if not three, of the areas with the garden project.

“We harvested over 1,200 pounds of vegetables for our school and community with the 2018 project,” she said.

Once the grant was secured, Bosworth FFA members—and the entire student body—went to work.

Even with the whole school pitching in to start and maintain the garden, Bosworth still needed the community to help. After all, only 54 students attend Bosworth School.

“Out of 18 high school kids total, we have 15 students in FFA,” Eiserer said.

 

GARDEN GREATNESS

Bosworth has a small agriculture building, with a greenhouse next to it. Until the garden project, a double-wide trailer that had been used for preschool sat on a lot near it, but the school board moved the trailer to make way for the community garden project.

Eiserer saw great potential in the spot where the trailer had sat.

“The foundation was non-fertile soil, and I thought that would be awesome to put raised beds on because it was otherwise useless,” she said.

That vision took flight in the form of a galvanized livestock tank container garden.

Each class, preschool through 8thgrade, has a row of three container gardens. The lessons learned through the garden for each age are different. Preschoolers and  and young ones use seed tape. The older kids get a hand in all that a garden entails.

“Each class put the potting soil in the containers, and everybody got their hands dirty,” Eiserer said. “Our FFA members were the extra hands to help the younger ones.”

The first day, everybody built gardens. They came back the next day and planted the gardens.

In addition to the container garden, they also planted a traditional garden so students could get experience with running a gas-powered tiller.

 

LEARNING TO DO

From the weeding to the watering and finally, the harvest, Bosworth students get to grow their own food. It’s an experience many of them have never had.

While Bosworth is a small town, most of its students are not from the farm.

“I don’t have traditional farm kids here,” Eiserer said. “Most live in town. Only three of my FFA students actually live on a small, hobby farm.”

The community is involved, too.

“We held workdays throughout the summer for community members to come in and help water the garden and harvest,” Eiserer said. “Over the summer, the kids come in and help, too.”

To get the goods out to the community,Eiserer uses social media and her front porch.

“I put a post up on Facebook that the produce is available, and it’s all gone by the next morning,” she said.

Some of the produce also goes to the local store using an honor system.

“The community members can make one stop and get their community produce, too,” Eiserer said. “They can donate money in the can, and out the door they go with their produce.”

The bounty was good for the garden’s first year—about 40 watermelons and 50 pie pumpkins among numerous other fruits and vegetables. Students are preserving some of the produce to be used in the school and community holiday program, which is a series of noon luncheons for the whole school.

“We will provide fruit and vegetables out of the garden for the Christmas dinner this year,” Eiserer said.

 

DOING TO LEARN

The community is benefiting from more than a homegrown holiday dinner.

“Some of our older citizens that don’t garden anymore have been able to have some garden produce without driving the 20 miles into town,” she said.

The kids are also learning a skill that they can use.

“Teaching these kids that they can have a garden is very rewarding,” Eiserer said. “They’re learning that taking a chance on something that you’ve worked hard to grow can be good for your body and fun to do.”

 

EARNING TO LIVE

After applying, and getting, the LTS grant twice, she said it does take some work.

“The hardest part was getting the objectives right,” Eiserer said. “Writing educational goals for preschool through 12thgrade was challenging.”

Eiserer used education resources from Missouri Farmers Care and the Missouri Soybean Association, which helped with the educational component of the application.

In 2019, the community garden—and the LTS grant funding—will continue.

“This year’s project will be for improvement with a watering system and expansion of different agriscience projects with gardening,” she said.

–by Ginger Merritt

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Smile! And, feed the world.

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer – President

“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.” -John McAfee

 

It is quite common that we turn on our televisions or open our Twitter feed and learn of an act of hate that has occurred somewhere around the world. A variety of causes can be blamed for these events, but I believe one of the most common is a lack of kindness.

 

Take a moment to think about the last time that someone smiled at you while walking down the street—an act so small that we often take for granted can make an enormous impact. Now consider the domino effect in relation to a simple act of kindness. Imagine how wonderful our world could be if everyone smiled at just one person every day.

 

You see, the impact of that one smile goes far beyond that single moment. As that person goes about the remainder of his or her day, spirits will be lifted. That single smile could change the entire course of a day. That smile could inspire the same in return, creating a chain reaction that can and will change our world.

 

As we listened to the speakers at the National FFA Convention and Expo, we were inspired to make a change. This is wonderful, but far too often we lose that inspiration when we return home. FFA members, the time is now. We can make an impact and change our world, but we have to start now.

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Inspiration and Thank You

Chloe Momphard

Chloe Momphard – VP

Captain Charlie Plumb, a farm kid from Kansas that grew up to be a pilot for the United States Navy, expressed this during one of his motivational speeches. Captain Plumb was a graduate of the Naval Academy. After training to become a pilot, his squadron was called to action for an eight-month tour. After 75 missions and only five days before the end of his tour, his airplane was shot down and he was taken as a prisoner of war (POW) for six years.

 

Plumb survived the hunger, isolation, monotony and terror as a POW for six long years. He became an inspiration to all of the POWs and now inspires all those he encounters. He does not consider himself a hero and takes advantage of every opportunity he has to thank those that participated in the constructing and packing of his plane. He survived the unthinkable and came out stronger after his time as a POW.

 

In Plumb’s words, “If life was perfect and everyone said yes, you wouldn’t try as hard or dress as neat. Therefore, there is great value in being blown out of the sky.” In other words, life throws obstacles our way. However, it is how we handle them and move forward that develops who we are in the future. Setbacks will occur and obstacles will get in the way, however, we write our story and live our life by the choices we make. If we choose to be defeated, it probably will become so. If we choose to embrace the challenge and fight through it, great things await. How will you choose?

 

To all who have bravely served our great country, THANK YOU! If you ate today, thank a farmer!  If you ate in peace, thank a soldier!

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Garth + POTUS = One for the Books

McKenzie Loftis

McKenzie Loftis – VP

This year’s National FFA Convention was one for the books! Every year an invitation is extended to the President of the United States. This year, Donald Trump accepted the invitation. He talked about many different agriculture issues that impact our agriculture industry, and he even discussed the skills we learn in FFA. His words hit home with me for different reasons. Many different opinions exist on important issues in agriculture, but who better to hear about the issues from than the current leader of our country. His speech also sparked many good conversations of how we can improve what we already do as agriculturists. On top of that, we heard some really good country music from Garth Brooks. To be completely honest, I was hard-core-fan-girling when one of the members sitting up by the stage got Garth’s hat. I grew up listening to Garth Brooks, and it was amazing to see him in concert. He put on a great show. The national officers presented him with an FFA jacket in a shadow box. I had never seen anything done like that until this year. I found it really cool, though. I am thankful an artist like him still represents country music so well. This quite possibly was the greatest National FFA Convention of all time. Thank you for allowing me to serve one more year in the blue jacket and have the opportunity to attend this amazing week of events.

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You

Audrey Martin

Audrey Martin – VP

The lyrics to one of my favorite songs ask, “if not us then who?”. The song really asks the listener to consider if they are doing their part to do good in the world and make a change. It is easy to see a problem, then simply assume that someone else will take care of it. It is easy to get stuck in everyday routines and forget that you can step up to make a change. No matter how big or small the act, you can make a difference in someone else’s life.

 

Many of you just got back from National FFA Convention where we learned about the power of “Just One”. FFA members, I know that many of you want to make a difference in your chapters and in your community. However, the task seems overwhelming or you doubt your own abilities. FFA members, there is absolutely no need for this. I promise you that you have the will, knowledge, and determination to make a difference. You have capabilities far beyond what you imagine right now. You and you alone have the power to make a change through just one act of kindness, compassion, or encouragement. Believe that you have the power to make a difference because if you don’t, who will?

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Tips from Missouri’s Top Chapters

From planning to creating activities that encourage member and community involvement, both Marshall and Paris FFA Chapters know what it takes to be among National FFA’s top chapters.

 

Both chapters will be recognized for their efforts as Model of Excellence finalists this month at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Marshall is also a premier chapter in the growing leaders category.

 

Paris FFA works to create activities that compliment National FFA’s Model of Excellence component of the National Chapter Award program. Activities such as Bacon Math Fun, Old Timer Barnwarming and Paris FFA Aggie Days are some examples of their events. Advisor Josh Bondy said chapters should find a need, create an activity and ask members what they are passionate about.

 

Plus, community support is key to the chapter’s success. According to advisor Jaelyn Peckman, their community is the backbone of their chapter because of its constant support and guidance.

 

“We are very thankful for our community support, and we realize this support makes new opportunities possible for our chapter,” she said.

 

Marshall FFA Advisor Tyler Burgin recommends chapters put a unique spin on activities already planned. He said doing so adds impact and reaches more people. Plus, both he and advisor Emily Reed said including officers and members in the planning and implementation of chapter activities is key to planning successful chapter activities.

 

“This is a student-led organization, and students take more pride in themselves and the chapter when they have to do something on their own,” Reed said.

 

—Story by Alison Bos-Lovins

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Dialed In On Dairy

Concordia FFA member Austin Freund remembers when he was a youngster following his dad around their family dairy operation.

“My dad has taught me the management practices needed to start and run my own dairy operation,” Austin says.

Austin began his dairy operation with two cows and two heifers. Growing his Supervised Agricultural Experience program helped him become a national finalist in the Dairy Production Entrepreneurship proficiency award area.

“Today, my wide array of responsibilities include removing manure from lots and spreading it on the fields where crops have been removed, moving cattle, vaccinating my cows, managing free stalls and harvesting hay,” he explains.

Growing his project hasn’t been easy. Austin says limited resources have made it challenging. The family operates a closed herd, choosing to not purchase animals outside the farm. To expand his project, Austin purchased some cows from his father and uncle. He’s also kept 100 percent of his heifer calves.

“From 2014 through 2016, my operating profit margin was higher than in 2017,” Austin explains. “Even though my herd numbers had increased, the milk prices were considerably lower, thus decreasing my profits. The increase required me to rent more acres for the production of feed for the additional cows, thus increasing my expenses while milk prices were already low.”

An exchange of labor plan with his father and uncle helped Austin defray some of his expenses.

Among the greatest accomplishments for his SAE are improving heat detection in both the heifers and cows and implementing a clean environment for his cattle by using fresh sand in the farm’s free stalls. He also implemented an intensive grazing system to help better utilize the farm’s pastures.

“When I first started managing the pastures (with intensive grazing three years ago), I hoped it would prove beneficial for my heifers,” Austin says. “I have noticed using intensive grazing the pastures grew more quickly, and the heifers are able to grow without being fed as much feed.”

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2018 National FFA Convention – Missouri Tidbits

  • 518 American Degree Recipients

 

  • National Officer Candidate – Sydney Mason

 

  • 5 Teachers receiving Honorary AM. Degree

    Charli J. Baugh – Joplin; Jay Craven – Holden; Paul Crews – Glasgow; Kelli Nolting – Carl Junction; Kyle Whittaker – Marshfield.

 

  • 16 National Delegates

 

  • 6 National Talent Performers

Sierra Barker, North Callaway; Skyler Barker, North Callaway; Maggie Frakes, Portageville; Brett Griesbaum, Palmyra; Matthew Huchteman, Dadeville; Hunter Todd, Odessa.

  • 16 National Chorus Members

Ryan Altman, Winfield; Bethany Bailey, Gallatin; Emily Bilyeu, California; Sierra Bruse, Princeton; Trenton Gabirel, Worth County; Patience Lockhart, Nevada; Logan Lucas, Monroe City; Macie McNeely, Gallatin; Chloe Moss, Crocker; Dylan Murdock, Couch; Dallin Nield, Miller; Kylee Peters, Higbee; Connor Pfaff, Monroe City; Konner Sisseck, Nevada; Jill Stundebeck, Salisbury; Colin Wilburn, Van-Far.

 

  • 13 National Band Members

Aubrey Bunge, Van-Far; Trace Chambers, Fayette; Cathryn Denny, Carl Junction; Haleigh Ferguson, Smithton; Emily Korff, North Callaway; Kimberly Niemeyer, Bowling Green; Tara Schnelting, Owensville; Avery Shultz, Memphis; Olivia Sloan, Salisbury; Luke Vaughn, Marceline; Jacob Wilson, Gallatin; Cory Word, Saxony Lutheran; Koltan York, Crocker

 

  • 4 Individuals receiving Honorary AM. Degree

Colleen Abbott, Columbia; Hilary Black, Jefferson City; Doug Kueker, Lake Ozark; Jackie Lacy, Maryville.

 

  • Hall of States – Cassville FFA

 

 

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2018 Missouri National Finalists

American Star Farmer Finalists

Austin Stanton – Centralia


Agriscience Fair – 9 Finalists
  • Animal Systems – Division 4 – Dylan Sparks/Izabella Kidwell – Troy
  • Animal Systems – Division 5 – Daryin Sharp – Bolivar
  • Animal Systems – Division 6 – Jenna Hahn/ Colli Nichols – Troy
  • Environ Services/NRS – Division 4 – Megan Hargis/ Lexi Vickrey  – Troy
  • Environ Services/NRS – Division 5 – Isaiah Massey – Troy
  • Environ Services/NRS – Division 6 – Jordan M iller/Tyler Linneman – Carrollton
  • Food Products – Division 5 – Preston McDowell – Tuscumbia
  • Plant Systems – Divison 5 – Addison Burns – Gallatin
  • Social Systems – Division 6 – Katy Grant & Allie Lock – Carrollton

Proficiency Awards – National Finalists (11)
  • Agricultural Sales – Placement – Hank Hoeppner – Higginsville
  • Agriscience Research – Integrated Systems – Sara Gammon – Drexel
  • Dairy Production Entrepreneurship – Austin Freund – Concordia
  • Diversified Horticulture – Natasha Jenkins – Boonville
  • Environmental Science/Natural Resources Management –Cameron Gehlert – Linn
  • Equine Science – Placement – Jacob Blank – Richland
  • Forage Production – Hannah Strain – Rolla
  • Goat Production – Riley Tade – Ashland
  • Grain Production – Entrepreneurship – Jacob Dierking – Santa Fe
  • Specialty Crop Production – Grace Box – Neosho
  • Swine Production – Placement – Brenden Kleiboeker – Pierce City

National Chapter Awards
  • 31 Three Star Chapters
  • Model of Excellence Finalist  – Marshall FFA and Paris FFA
  • Premier Chapter – Growing Leaders Finalists – Marshall

CDE Participants
  • Ag Issues – Eldon
  • AG Sales – Eldon
  • AG Mechanics – North Shelby
  • Agronomy – Elsberry
  • Conduct of Meetings – Troy
  • Creed – Kaitlin Kleiboeker – Pierce City
  • Dairy Cattle – Butler
  • Dairy Cattle Handlers-Grant Dohle,Pleasant Hope
  • Employment Skills – Jayla Wortman, Neosho
  • Environmental/Nat Res. – Mount Vernon
  • Extemp Speaking – Hattie Grisham, Eldon
  • Farm Bus. Mgt – Slater
  • Floriculture – Owensville
  • Food Science – Columbia
  • Forestry – Stockton
  • Horse – Columbia
  • Livestock – Nevada
  • Meats – Paris
  • Milk Quality – Wheaton
  • Nursery/Landscape – Audrain Co. R-VI
  • Parliamentary – Tipton
  • Poultry – Paris
  • Public Speaking – Brenden Kleiboeker, Pierce City

 

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Chase Your Dreams

Shelby Davies

Shelby Davies – VP

When we are little, we are told to always follow our dreams. Everyone’s dreams look a little different, but the summer of 2006 my only dream was to catch a peacock. During two weeks at the Blacktail Ranch, a dude ranch nestled deep in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, I tried everything my 6-year-old brain could think of to reach my dream. I tried outrunning them, sneak-attacking them, lassoing them, and I even tried trapping them in a corner! Nothing worked. As we were getting ready to leave the ranch Tag, the ranch owner finally took pity on me. He got a bucket of feed from the barn, brought it to me and told me to wait calmly and quietly. Sure enough, soon the peacocks were flocking around me, and I finally got to live out my dream of petting a peacock.

 

Fall is such a promising time in the FFA. Classes have just started up and as FFA members we are tasked with figuring out what we want to do with the rest of the year. Just like 6-year-old Shelby had a dream of catching a peacock, we also need to dream dreams that will propel us through this new-year in FFA.

 

The first step is figuring out what your dream is. A great place to look for ideas you want to accomplish is our website, www.ffa.org. There, you will find links to all the amazing career development events, leadership development events, camps, trips, proficiencies and so much more that are available in our organization. With all the options available, I have no doubt that you will quickly find one that you can make into a dream worth chasing!

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Fall Is Upon Us

Allie Lock - VP

Allie Lock – VP

Fall is my favorite season — from spending days walking around pumpkin patches to traveling into corn mazes and raking up leaves to nights spent at bonfires gathered around family and friends. But as fall comes upon us, it also comes with more responsibilities.

 

One very large event that occurs in the middle of fall is the annual National FFA Convention. Each year, my FFA Chapter takes a select few students out to either compete or participate in national convention. My sophomore year of high school, I was lucky enough to be chosen.

 

National FFA Convention was the highlight of my year, and I had a blast attending different workshops and speakers with my friends. As the event came to a close, it was time to get back to school. But when we came back, I found it difficult to get caught up in my classes. I had not asked my teachers for work beforehand, and I had not known about different assignments that would be due when I got back. As a result, I had to spend more time figuring out how to get caught up and ended up missing even more assignments. Eventually, everything did even out, my grades still took a hit because of it.

 

FFA members, fall is a busy time and the year will only get busier. Prioritizing our time is more important than ever. As you begin participating in various clubs and organizations, be sure to inform your teachers of what you might miss and to work on assignments ahead of time, you could even buy a planner! Whatever it is you need to do to stay organized, do it. If you stay ahead of the game, you can spend more time doing all your favorite fall activities, whether it is attending national convention or fallinginto leaf piles.

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October Treats

Madelyn Derks

Madelyn Derks – VP

Crunch. Crackle. Snap. I anxiously walk the pathway to my grandma’s house. I slowly raise my finger and press the doorbell. Ding! The door cracks open and I scream…. TRICK OR TREAT!

 

Every October, my mom would sew my two brothers and I matching Halloween costumes. One year, I was Cruella De Ville with my two Dalmatian puppies and another year, I was Snow White with my dwarfs, Grumpy and Sleepy. From carving pumpkins to watching Hocus Pocus, I loved this chilly season.

 

But October doesn’t just bring us Halloween. For those of us in agriculture, it’s late nights in the field. It’s watching your dad work hard to reap the product of his toil. It’s the bright lights from the combine and the smell of dirt on a cold evening. It’s harvest.

 

All around us farmers are working hard to harvest their crops. What are you doing to showcase your hard work?

 

Will you take the time to harvest the opportunities that FFA has to offer?

 

Before we know it, some of us will be traveling to National FFA Convention, competing in fall speaking contests, and participating in our chapter activities. As FFA members we have the chance to work hard to achieve a goal, try something new or make a new friend. It’s all up to us. It can be scary to try something new. It’s hard to participate when we’re much more comfortable alone. Just like farmers, though, harvest season is not always easy.

 

FFA members, I challenge you to harvest every opportunity that comes your way this week, this month, this year. I challenge you to give it your all. Give workshops, sessions, contests, events 110 percent just like our fellow farmers are giving it their all in the fields. Make this your time to develop to your fullest potential.

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