Beyond High School

FFA members often cite a culture of close-knit family as a favorite part of their years in the organization. They develop feelings of trust and friendships that last with those who share in their FFA experiences. The agriculture program at State Fair Community College (SFCC) in Sedalia, Missouri, has capitalized on that same culture.


“There are a number of reasons that students enjoy the program,” says Brad Driskill, agriculture program coordinator at SFCC. “Most agriculture students like the close-knit bonds that are formed in their high school agriculture programs and participation in FFA.  We provide an environment conducive to that culture.”


Driskill says their agriculture program offers courses and degrees with a dual purpose: to support students seeking careers in agriculture and to support the agricultural industry seeking a trained workforce. This is accomplished by offering four Associate of Applied Science degrees, two professional certificates and an Associate of Arts degree for students wishing to transfer to a university to continue their education.


At SFCC, students can pursue associate degrees in arts or in agriculture with an emphasis in agribusiness, agronomy, animal science or horticulture. They also have the option of obtaining a professional certificate in agribusiness or agronomy.


The location of the college helps attract students interested in the offered programs.


“From our location, south we get many students who have an animal science focus, but from Sedalia, north we get students who tend to have an agronomy focus,” Driskill says.


This diversity in student interest allows the agriculture program to integrate both areas into effective educational opportunities. Each degree and certificate area of the program focuses on both specific skills needed to help students in their future careers and soft skills needed across the board.


“SFCC Agriculture focuses on work-based skills in the specific degree area,” Driskill says. “Students are trained in technical knowledge that will help Associate of Applied Science degree seekers enter the workforce and help Associate of Arts degree seekers prepare for transfer to a university.  In addition to technical skills, we focus on leadership, citizenship and essential skills need for employability.”


From calculating yield estimates in local fields to growing mums and greenhouse plants for student-operated sales, every student passing through the SFCC agriculture program becomes familiar with hands-on learning. All Associate of Applied Science degree-seeking students are even required to obtain an internship position for further hands-on experience.


SFCC Agriculture students also receive personal growth and career exploration opportunities as they move through the program. One of these opportunities comes from participation in the Professional Agriculture Students (PAS) organization, a nationwide collegiate group that continues the leadership opportunities FFA provides. Driskill says students always enjoy the organization, as PAS offers skill set development and network opportunities in addition to its national collegiate-level competition-style learning model.


Students also receive career guidance from required classes in the SFCC agriculture program.


“The ag program engages each student that comes through the program to help them determine career goals,” Driskill says. “We have a sequence of classes that focus on employment, goal setting and personal skill identification. This helps us guide each student into a career path that best suits them.”


From hands-on learning to personal skill growth and career exploration, SFCC Agriculture students are ready to tackle the workforce or pursue additional education in the agricultural industry upon graduation from the program.  More information on the SFCC ag program can be found at

—By Brandelyn Martin Twellman

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Where It All Begins

Over 4,500 first year FFA members from more than 320 Missouri High Schools had the opportunity to learn about being positive role models, learning to get involved, making sound choices, becoming active team members and making a positive difference in their lives, school and community Jan. 6-10 across the state during the annual Greenhand Motivational Conferences.  The conferences were presented by the Missouri State FFA Officers and were sponsored by MFA, Inc.


Through interactive workshops and skits, the state FFA officers encouraged first year FFA members to explore their talents and reach outside their comfort zones for the opportunities provided through FFA membership. Officers helped the new agriculture students set goals for their education, careers and FFA experience.


Eighteen conferences were held at 13 different locations throughout the state: Missouri State Fairgrounds, Sedalia; Bowling Green High School, Bowling Green; Truman State University, Kirksville; Sullivan High School, Sullivan; Three Rivers Community College, Poplar Bluff; Missouri State University, West Plains; Lincoln University, Jefferson City;  Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau; Waynesville High School, Waynesville; Missouri State University, Springfield; Missouri Western State College, St. Joseph; University of Missouri, Columbia; and North Central Missouri College, Trenton.

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Pushing Through The Drifts

Drew Kientzy

Drew Kientzy – VP

I vividly remember the winter of 2012, and more specifically, the monster snowstorm that hit northeast Missouri the second week of January. Two full days of near whiteout conditions, subzero temperatures and winds in excess of 40 miles per hour with gusts approaching 70.


After the snow stopped falling, my dad and I traveled to our farm in 11 inches of fresh powder the to retrieve a tractor to plow our way through the snow to the highway. Although the deep snow might have made travel difficult, the inconvenience paled in comparison to the drifts. In places, the snow exceeded five feet deep, making already difficult travel that much harder. There were many spots on the road where the drifted snow blocked our path, and we had to ram our way back and forth in the truck to break through the drifts and continue on our way. Although the journey was long, tedious and treacherous, we had soon cleared a path to our house.


At times, our lives might seem much like that Missouri snowstorm. Life goes poorly for us and just when we think it can’t be much worse, we run into a snow drift of additional difficulty that stops us in our tracks. However, even though this inconvenience might seem like it is too much to handle, snow drifts are thin and can be broken through, and if we keep our goals in mind, we can overcome our problems like that old Chevy overcame the snow. Luckily, no drift can be infinite so our challenges must become easier on the other side of the peak, and with perseverance all of our problems will melt away just as the snow does in the March sun.

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Elizabeth Brooks

Elizabeth Brooks – VP

Do you remember the most breath-taking sunrise you have ever witnessed? For me, that sunrise was on the drive to Yellowstone National Park from Gardiner, Montana. It was still dark when my family left our hotel, but as we traveled through the mountains, pinks and oranges began to spill over the peaks into the valley. The dawn revealed dewy alfalfa fields and grazing cattle as I gazed at the beauty of the morning light peeking over the mountain tops. It was truly the most amazing sight I had ever seen!


I have seen many other beautiful sunrises in my life. I have always loved watching the sun rise because it gives me some perspective. Sunrises mean that today is a new day. Each time we witness the sun rise, we can enjoy a moment of peace and happiness knowing that we made it another day. No matter how dark the days before seemed, we can rest assured that each sunrise means a fresh start and a chance to make each day a great one.


Now, as I reflect on that memory and remember the beautiful sunrise, I recall the feelings of pure happiness and appreciation I had for that new day. Next time you see the sun rise, I encourage you to take just a moment to gaze at its simple beauty and appreciate the new day and new possibilities that lie before you.

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New Year, New Me

Alexandra Gast

“New year, new me.”

A common phrase we hear after the start of a new year. This statement is made by the individuals seeking change in their life and have a desire to be better than the year before. But here is a truth that very few people seem to accept: You will be the same you, same as the year before, if you do not work hard and make an effort to be better.


You see, change doesn’t happen overnight and neither does success. It takes countless hours of hard work, combined with passion and a desire to be better. In the next few weeks, FFA members across the state will be signing up for a contest team, beginning the preparations for their spring speeches, or gathering a team for Ag Issues. As this preparation starts, you must make a choice: will you approach this season of life just like before — lacking the hard work and passion to be successful? Or, will you commit yourself, learn something new, spend the extra hours to perfect your skills and knowledge?


FFA members, this season will only be different if you try. It will only be different if you change. Work hard, be excited for what’s to come, and set goals for the upcoming year. Believe in yourself and work hard.

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Stay in Practice – And Wash Your Hands!

Brenden Kleiboeker

FFA members, as I write this blog to you, I am preparing for a New Year, however I am laying in bed sick. Being sick over Christmas Vacation is no fun, and has led me to question many reasons why I am sick. However, being sick has helped me put together some thoughtful insight for the New Year for you.

I spent most of last week on the road doing chapter visits, I had a great time visiting FFA members across the state, however one thing I did not do enough is wash my hands. After a visit, I would swing through a drive through for a meal, and even think to myself that I should wash up, but decide I did not have time and go ahead and eat my meal. Just like in our everyday life, we often think doing the little things will take too much time. However, when it comes down to it, taking a single minute to wash my hands could have kept me from getting sick and spending multiple days in bed.

Whenever I came home from Columbia, I realized that I had forgotten my Vitamin C tablets in my dorm room. “No biggie” I thought to myself. I did not realize how big of an effect this could have on my immune system. A cold and a respiratory virus later, I wish I would have stayed in practice with my vitamins. Just like practicing for an LDE or CDE, if it works for you, do not quit doing it, or you will see the negative feedback later.

FFA members, learn from my mistakes in the coming year: do not overlook the little things, and stay in practice and I am sure that you will be successful!

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Feed Just One

Kensie Darst

“If you cannot feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
–Mother Teresa

There is nothing more rewarding than uplifting others through service. Mother Teresa devoted her life to serve the poor and the impoverished. She spent countless hours, traveled many miles and made an unforgettable mark on the people she encountered. Teresa was admired by many for her heart of service. She believed that her life had purpose. With that purpose, she fulfilled her calling to serve others during their times of need.


Mother Teresa is recognized to this day as a humble individual who fought through harm’s way just to help someone else. She knew that she could not help all of those who were in need, but she became blissful to know that she changed the life of just one human.


Throughout our lives, we face times when we lend a hand to help our friends and family. As an FFA member, we live a life of service. Be willing to take any opportunity to serve others this year with a grateful heart. Whether this be through cleaning and fixing the local community garden, picking up trash along the highway with your chapter or simply beginning a food or clothing drive to provide for local families in need.


Mother Teresa is an individual who many looked up to, though she did not desire the recognition. Her life relates to the last line of the FFA motto, “Living to Serve.” Members, I challenge you to make a difference in the lives of others this year to fulfill your true purpose as a member.

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Build YOUR Confidence

Walking into the National Agriscience Fair, Dylan Sparks looked at the rows upon rows of project presentations and didn’t know how he would measure up. He and his partner, Bella Kidwell, are members of the Troy FFA Chapter. They agreed the National Agriscience Fair was something they will never forget.


Matt McCrory, an advisor of the Troy FFA Chapter, said the fair is broken into different segments.


“Students discover a problem, research it, develop a hypothesis and conduct the scientific experiment to test the hypothesis,” he said. “They write a research paper displaying their research, data and results.  Students then make a display board portraying their research project and take part in a 10-minute interview with judges explaining their concepts, steps and analysis.”


The Agriscience Fair allows students to further explore topics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


“They get to choose from a variety of category areas based upon their interests, including Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems; Food Products and Processing Systems; Plant Systems; Power, Structural and Technical Systems; and Social Science,” McCrory explained.


Sparks and Kidwell decided to explore the Animal Systems area.


“Dylan and I did a project about artificial insemination in swine,” Kidwell said. “We looked at what type of rod would be the best to use. It was between a traditional spirette rod and an intrauterine rod. We tested on a litter of gilts and sows.”


In addition to learning about swine, Sparks said he also developed leadership skills throughout his project.


“It helped build my confidence while speaking in front of people,” he explained. “It helped build my writing skills as well.”


Kidwell and Sparks won at the state level and went on to win the national competition in 2018. Sparks is moving onto nationals again this year. He attributes his chapter’s consistent success to teamwork and collaboration.


Sparks said he remembers an older member reaching out to help them with their project.


“He read over our essay, listened to our speech and gave us tips,” Sparks said. “We all just work together to refine everything. It’s not just your project–it’s almost the whole chapter’s project.”


Similarly, Gabriel Simmons and Allison Harris, members of the Tuscumbia FFA Chapter, believe their chapter’s successes are due to the encouragement of others involved.


“I am blessed enough to be in a chapter filled with people who are both passionate about what they do and encouraging to those around them,” Harris said. “The members in my chapter strive not to be perfect but instead to be the best they can be. This certainly makes an impact on every individual member of the chapter, school and community by pushing them to be the same way.”


While the students attribute most of their success to those around them, Tuscumbia Advisor Nick Parks said his students are self-motivated as well.


“What makes our chapter successful is the time our students put into the project outside of school,” he explained. “They put in countless hours both inside and outside of the classroom.”


Invasive species was Simmons’s topic of choice this year.


“I was investigating how well the public understood invasive species,” he said. “I created a survey. Section 1 consisted of questions where subjects had to identify invasive flora and fauna, and non-invasive flora and fauna. They also had to classify these species as either invasive or non-invasive. In section 2, they had to answer questions related to the problems associated with invasive species.”


Harris chose to do her project on preventing corrosion of mild steel.


“Acid media, which is used heavily in dairy industries, can cause severe damage of goods and structures,” she explained. “I used beet root, grape seed, green tea, and Moringa oleifera extracts. These extracts were added to an acid solution, and each was tested at three different concentrations. The change in mass was calculated at the end of the experiment, and I found that each of the treatment groups was 100% effective at preventing corrosion.”


Both members competed at the National Agriscience Fair this year. While they are excited about their successes thus far, they are also appreciative of the skills they have gained.


Parks said that while the main purpose of the fair is to encourage students to search for solutions to common issues in agriculture, it also allows for many personal growth opportunities.


“While learning about the uses of acid media, I learned how much of an impact it makes in various industries, the environment and the economy,” Harris said. “However, I also learned to be persistent and work hard to accomplish my goals, no matter how difficult it may become.”


Each student agreed that the Agriscience Fair has presented them with lessons and opportunities they didn’t foresee. Whether it changed their future career path, helped them with interview skills or allowed them to explore a new area of agriculture, each student has taken away more than an award from the experience.

—By Brandelyn Martin

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Isaiah Massey - 1st VP

Isaiah Massey – 1st VP

“There’s a popular quote going around that the person you will be in the next five years is based on the books you read, and the people you hang around.  Now this is very true, but this is more than just those two variables. The person you will become in the next five years depends on everything that you do. Your actions yesterday affect your life in the future.”


This is an excerpt from my favorite motivational speech called Feed Your Mind by fearless motivation.  I listen to this speech at least once a day because it challenges me to make the best choices I can make in the long run. A situation where I truly had to put this speech to practice was the end of my junior year in high school.  After FFA banquet, I had a dilemma. On one hand my football coach was telling me about the football programs that were scouting me to play for their program. On the other hand, my advisor was telling me that I had the potential to become a state officer.


Both choices would take a yearlong of commitment, and I had a big decision to make going into my senior year. Do I go down the path that I’ve known my entire life, or do I choose a path that I’ve only been in recently? As I got home from banquet I went downstairs to my room and laid out my football jersey and chapter jacket.  I looked at my football jersey and reminisced all the years I’ve had playing the sport with my friends when we were younger. As I studied my FFA jacket, I thought about all the friends I have made, all of the skills I have learned and the potential I have found in myself. The very thought of hanging up my cleats made me feel like I was disappointing a lot of people, but the thought of not perusing FFA made me sick to my stomach. With tears in my eyes, I had to think about that phrase that I always played in my head. “The person you will be in the next five years is based on the books you read and the people you hang around.” That phrase spoke volumes to me in that moment as I realized the amount of growth I’ve experienced because of FFA and that path that I am on, that if it weren’t for FFA then I wouldn’t be the man I am today.


FFA members, there will be many decisions to make in life and most of those decisions will require sacrifice. Still, the question you must ask yourself first is who the person is you want to be in the future? And, what are you going to do to speak your future into existence?

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Dared To Be Diversified

Diversifying her livestock enterprise sounded like a good plan. Yet, it was the greatest challenge Bucklin FFA member Amelia Liebhart faced with her supervised agricultural experience project.


“Raising and exhibiting Salers cattle along with my sisters and fellow family members was a given, but expanding into swine and goats was not,” she explains.

Initially met with resistance, Liebhart says her family couldn’t understand the interest she had in other species, especially given the success they had received in the cattle industry.

However, with a little help from her grandpa, Liebhart was able to persuade her parents into the expansion. The decision was one that helped the FFA member become a national winner in the diversified livestock proficiency award area last month at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Experiencing the success and satisfaction of my own SAE in diversified livestock production made me realize the value of the entire SAE process to the agricultural education program and the value of the experience to agriculture students,” Liebhart says.

Liebhart’s SAE includes raising registered Salers beef cattle, crossbred swine, Boer goats and working on her family’s farm. Income she earns on the farm is used to purchase needed hay, feed, veterinary care, pasture and bull rent. She also invested in the production of seven acres of corn to help provide feed for her livestock project.

“Raising livestock and growing up in a farm environment has shaped me as an individual and exemplifies the FFA motto through my experiences,” Liebhart says. “Learning the value of hard work, dedication, money management, goal-setting, planning, decision-making and even dealing with failure and loss (have been critical to my success). Through practical experience, I have built up a lifelong enterprise while learning life skills.”

In the future, Liebhart hopes to become an agricultural education instructor and share her own experiences with her students, helping them learn essential skills and gain opportunities for success through their own SAE programs. She says her first-hand experiences will undoubtedly assist her in teaching future students while allowing her to continue serving others.

“Everything of value requires hard work and dedication, and this can come with some difficult decisions and lessons,” she says. “Overall, my involvement in raising livestock has been positive and rewarding, and I plan to continue it throughout my life and with my own family.”

—By Joann Pipkin

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Passing on the Passion

With more than 200,000 students and their families in Missouri, Agriculture Education on the Move (AEOTM) continues to grow, helping bridge the gap between farming and the non-farming public. The program aims to increase an understanding of agriculture in third-grade classrooms across the state.


“AEOTM is a 10-week, interactive ag education program that focuses on bringing passionate educators into the classroom to share that important story of modern agriculture,” said Luella Gregory, AEOTM program director.


The interactive program is backed by Missouri Farmers Care (MFC), a joint effort by Missouri’s agricultural community to support Missouri agriculture. AEOTM teaches students about agricultural topics, such as crops, livestock, soil and water conservation, nutrition and agricultural careers throughout its lessons. It has grown to reach more than 100 schools in the state.


And one of the key components behind its growth is a partnership with Missouri FFA members.


“FFA is a very important component of the program, and we are proud to partner with Missouri FFA students across the state to bring programs into their local classrooms,” Gregory said. “We have regional field educators who serve our urban areas, but it is absolutely crucial in our rural communities to have our FFA chapters to help support and bring that message.”


The partnership requires a level of responsibility on the members’ part, she added.


“FFA members take on the role a regional educator would and learn the material and bring those lessons to their own peers.”


Sending FFA members into their local classrooms has benefited both the program and the students it serves.


“The benefit of having local FFA students pouring back into elementary classrooms in their area is a network that those students themselves are building,” said Ashley McCarty, MFC executive director. “Elementary students get to hear about beef production, for instance. But they also get to hear about that from someone who is producing beef in their county. It’s not an abstract idea anymore; it’s very much in context.”


FFA members are also benefitting from this partnership.


“Getting to serve as an educator with AEOTM really allows an FFA student to put into practice all of the leadership skills they learn through FFA and is an opportunity for practical application of agricultural literacy that students have learned throughout their agricultural education programs,” McCarty said.


In addition to personal growth benefits, acting as an AEOTM educator allows members the chance to give back to others in their community.


“In our eyes, it gives an FFA student the opportunity to serve but also the opportunity to pass on their passion for agriculture that has drawn them to be an FFA member in the first place,” McCarty said. “Probably the aspect of AEOTM that I love the most is that it puts our FFA leaders in a position of being mentors for elementary students.”


Connecting with older students is a valuable aspect that can brighten a third- grader’s day and makes their experience with AEOTM even more memorable, McCarty explained.


While classroom time is the largest portion of AEOTM, other ways to participate are also available.


“Outside of the classroom setting, we do a lot of professional events,” Gregory said. “If there’s ever an activity or event that an FFA chapter is doing or a student is really passionate about, we love to try to help make that happen.”


“MFC and the agricultural groups that make up MFC are exceptionally appreciative of all the partnerships we have with Missouri FFA,” McCarty added. “Getting to tap into the passion, power and energy of FFA students in AEOTM and in all the other ways we work together is such a beneficial partnership throughout all of our industry that I think only makes each segment stronger.”


Missouri FFA members can get involved with AEOTM by visiting its website,, or MFC’s website,

—By Brandelyn Martin

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Nov 11 2019

Missouri Team Takes Top Honors in 2019 Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Competition

Courtesy of the National FFA Organization

Winners of the National FFA Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Career Development Event (CDE) were announced Friday at the annual awards banquet. The event was held in conjunction with the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. Dr. Mark Zidon from the University of Wisconsin -Platteville served as superintendent of the event.


The top ten individuals and the national winning team members received cash awards to recognize their success in the event. This CDE, and all the cash awards, are sponsored by Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Caterpillar Inc., Darling Ingredients and Firestone Agricultural Solutions.


The National FFA Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems CDE is a competitive event that allows students to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations. Activities included in the event are a written exam, a team event, demonstration of problem-solving skills, and hands-on performance activities. Areas of emphasis include environmental and natural resource systems, machinery and equipment systems, structural systems, energy systems and electrical systems. Each team in the event has competed with other chapters in their state for the privilege of participating in the national event.


The event, held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, is one of many educational activities at the National FFA Convention & Expo in which FFA members practice the lessons taught in agricultural education classes.

Top Placing Teams

1st Place– Missouri  Grant Coe, Youssef Fransis, Kirby Latimer, and Mason Uhlmeyer, all of North Shelby FFA

2nd Place– Illinois  Austin Friedman, Ty Zimmerman, Chase Leman, and Evan Young, all of Prairie

Central FFA

3rd Place– California  Devan Gomes, Landon Rocha, Trenton Soares, and Tyler Pimentel, all of Hilmar FFA

4th Place– Texas Trey Ivey, Wyatt Lykins, Samuel Packer, and Rylan Cates, all of Bangs FFA

5th Place– North Carolina  Kevin Melton, Alton Warren, Lane Warren, and Parker Edwards, all of Enka FFA

6th Place– North Dakota  Levi Schwab, Jacob Bear, Brady Carlson, and Gavin Reinke, all of Lisbon FFA

7th Place– Iowa  Gabe Knobloch, Blake Meyer, Lucas Moser, and Tyren Ulmer, all of West Lyon FFA

8th Place– Washington  Chad Nunamaker, Gus Roelof, Jose Malave, and Hailey Gallatin, all of Meridian FFA

9th Place– Ohio  JUSTIN PUTHOFF, Blake Holthaus, James Keller, and Austin Bollheimer, all of Fort Loramie- UVCC FFA

10th Place– Nevada  John Cashell, Cody M Fowers, Evan D Carlon, and Kaden T Syme, all of Silver Sage FFA

Top Placing Individuals

 1st Place– Youssef Fransis of North Shelby FFA , MO

2nd Place– Kirby Latimer of North Shelby FFA , MO

3rd Place– Mason Uhlmeyer of North Shelby FFA , MO

4th Place– Grant Coe of North Shelby FFA , MO

5th Place– Levi Schwab of Lisbon FFA , ND

6th Place– Tyler Pimentel of Hilmar FFA , CA

7th Place– Sam Droesch of Crater FFA , OR

8th Place– Ty Zimmerman of Prairie Central FFA , IL

9th Place– Garrett Morgan of White County FFA , GA

10th Place– Evan Young of Prairie Central FFA , IL

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Nov 11 2019

Troy FFA Named 2019 National Premier Chapter – Building Communities Winner

Courtesy of the National FFA Organization

 INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019/National FFA Organization) — Troy FFA of Missouri has been named the 2019 National Premier Chapter: Building Communities winner at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. 


The National Chapter Award program recognizes outstanding FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality FFA Chapter Standards and a Program of Activities that emphasizes growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership. 


Troy FFA chose the #SIGNONESAVEMANY campaign to promote organ donor registration to its members and supporters, ultimately improving the welfare and physical well-being of the town’s citizens and beyond. Members used social media, videos and presentations to encourage enrollment in the program while educating on the importance of organ donations. The chapter signed up more than 1,000 people to the registry, potentially benefiting more than 100,000 people in the long term. 


Chapters eligible to compete for the National Premier Chapter: Building Communities award demonstrate competency in doing innovative things or taking traditional concepts and applying a creative twist in the building communities division of the chapter’s Program of Activities. Ten three-star chapters competed in a presentation and interview process for the top honor during this year’s national convention. Troy FFA received a plaque in an onstage ceremony during the convention’s second general session on Thursday, Oct. 31. 


John Deere sponsors the National Chapter Award program. 


The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S. 

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Keep Your End Goal In Sight

Jacob Knaebel - VP

Jacob Knaebel – VP

My feet are freezing. I can’t feel my hands. I am starving, tired, and all I want to do is go back to the cabin and sleep this opening morning of deer season. I know if I give up now my chances of getting a deer are slim, yet the complaints in my mind slowly win me over, and I decide to climb out of my deer stand. As I reach the bottom of the ladder, I turn around in time to see a buck lurking just in the edge of the woods dart across the field and out of sight. Now I’m cold, hungry, tired and mad I didn’t wait five more minutes.


Much like hunting, during our time in FFA we are going to set many goals for ourselves such as winning a CDE or getting a chapter office. However, sometimes we don’t realize the amount of work and endurance that will be required of us to achieve our goals, and we give up because it is the easier option. But if we don’t see the task of achieving our goals through to completion, then we will never be able to reap the benefits.


That day in the woods, I lost sight of what my goal was and only focused on the reasons why I should give up, and because of that I didn’t achieve my goal. This year we all need to remember to keep our end goal in sight and build up our mental endurance to overcome all obstacles that might hold us back.

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Our Future Outlook

Kaylee Lewis - VP

Kaylee Lewis – VP

FFA members, our future is before us. But what does that future hold? In the future, we could be wearing scrubs, a business suit, chaps or a number of other outfits. However, one outfit in particular that rests in my mind as important is overalls. You might be wondering why that is. I see overalls as hard work.


Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Through this statement, Thomas Edison is suggesting that we are all given the same opportunities and each of us have what we feel is a support system, which has laid the groundwork for our foundation, in turn making us strong and resilient; stitching us into the overall individuals we are today. With that, we have a choice—work hard or get passed by.


In a world of deep divide, whether you are talking politics, race, religion, culture or movements – I believe we are all missing a great point. We are all human beings that put our overalls on one leg at a time. No one story is better or more important than another. What separates us is the slight edge and the small steps we take each day to move forward. You see, any one of us has the opportunity to start a movement, but not everyone is willing to put in the work. We can talk about things, ideas and differences, but the question still remains: what are we going to do? We can continue to rant and rage, or we can become educated, agree to disagree, find common ground with others, and ultimately, put the work in to make opportunities turn into success stories. So, let’s not rest on our laurels. Let’s hike up our overalls and get to work.


In the end, we need to remember that the only place where results come before work is in the dictionary. Today’s world is competitive. Everyone here wants to be successful in life. The way to make it happen is to put in the work just like Thomas Edison suggests. It is a funny thing, the harder I work, the luckier I get. We can apply this concept to any FFA CDE, LDE, classroom activity, or just plain old life in general. Overalls may or may not be our current fashion choice, but none of us will ever outgrow their meaning!

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