Missouri FFA and Agriculture Education | Blog
Latest news and reflections by Missouri FFA officers.
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State Officers Address Missouri General Assembly

For the last 27 years, our state FFA president has had the honor of addressing the Missouri House of Representatives.  The theme of this year’s speech was Growing Leaders, Building Communities, and Strengthening Agriculture.

A Facebook Live post of your Missouri state FFA officers singing the National Anthem in the Whispering Gallery also took place on Mon., Feb. 5.  Missouri FFA is proud and honored to share that this video has generated more than 157,000 views and was picked up by Todd Starnes of Fox News that same afternoon. Check out the video on our Missouri FFA Facebook page. Other news on the annual Legislative Day can also be found there as well.

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The One You Feed

Sydnee Mason, casual

Sydnee Mason – Secretary

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was listen to my dad tell stories. I would sit cross-legged on the deep freezer in the corner of his meeting room and listen while he motivated and inspired college rodeo athletes from across the country. Not much has changed since those days — the stories are the same and the only differences are the athletes in his program. I still love to listen to these honest, tried and true tales. One of my favorites is the following old Cherokee legend: Two Wolves.

 

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

He continued, “Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit. The same fight is going on inside you — and every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Embracing the changes and endless possibilities that 2018 promises to bring might seem like a daunting task. Hopefully, we have all settled into those familiar routines of school, chores and homework by now, and we are ready to tackle whatever the second semester has in store. FFA members, let’s remember the wise words of the Cherokee grandfather. Whether we’re studying for a Career Development Event, memorizing our speeches for spring contest or simply investing ourselves in the Ag classroom, let’s pledge to feed the good wolf in 2018.

 

 

 

“Two Wolves” Cherokee Legend sourced from: http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TwoWolves-Cherokee.html

 

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Footprints in the Snow

Elise Bailey, casual

Elise Bailey – VP

January has arrived and so has the snow. When I look out my window at a field of freshly fallen snow, it makes me want to freeze that landscape in time. I know in a couple of days that this field will not have perfect untouched snow on the ground; instead footprints will market its perfectness.

 

When I take a step in the unblemished snow, I quickly realize that every step I take will show. This image is a good reminder for us in life. The paths we make and the destinations that we reach are evident to those watching simply by the steps that we take.

 

As I look back on my trek through the snow, it is clear to see not only the distance that I have traveled, but also where my journey began.

 

Whether in our FFA careers, our educational adventures, or our journeys in life, this image holds a powerful meaning. It is important to be reminded that others are watching, and maybe even following, in the path that we’ve paved. At the end of the day, it is imperative that we look back on the lengths we have traveled and recognize the place where our journey commenced.

 

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Western Farm Show

FFA DAY IS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018

Attention all FFA Members & Advisors! Plan to attend the Focus on Agriculture Careers event.

 

Here are a few details:

  • FFA day will be held Friday, February 23rd.

  • Kansas State FFA and Missouri State FFA leadership are eager to share a message about how your students can become advocates for Agriculture and Hunger Awareness; making a difference in their communities and schools.
  • We encourage Advisors and Students to make a special visit to the OSU booth this year.

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, where students can learn about educational opportunities in Agriculture. Featuring their Equipment Technician Training Program for students looking to earn a degree in equipment maintenance and repair. Representatives will be on hand to answer questions about the program and OSU-IT. www.osuit.edu

  • FFA Canned and Nonperishable Food Border Battle at the Western Farm Show!

In support of the 2018 National FFA Week and FFA Day at the 2018 Western Farm Show, FFA members from Missouri and Kansas are encouraged to gather and bring canned and nonperishable food to donate to Harvesters Community Food Network. Your chapter could win $500 for bringing the most canned and nonperishable food items!

How do I register?

  • Complete the form below with the number of students your chapter plans to bring to the Show submit via the website or print and fill out the form and FAX the form back to us. You will receive your complimentary tickets in February, along with a letter providing details about parking and other information.
  • Please be sure to fill in your Western Farm Show FFA ticket request form below.

 

Ticket Request orders received after February 2, 2018 will not be mailed, but left in “will call” at the ticket office at the American Royal. The ticket office will open the morning of Friday, Feb. 23.

For questions, contact Ken Dean (kdean@westerneda.com).

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Mark Your Calendar

Mark your calendar for these up-coming leadership development programs and scholarship application deadlines.

 

Check with your FFA advisor about State Degree, Proficiency Award, State Chorus, State Talent and State Officer deadlines.

 

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Save the Date – Drive to Feed Kids

The first ever Missouri FFA Food Insecurity Service Day was held last August during the 2017 Missouri State Fair, and plans are already well underway for this year’s event.

 

Set for Aug. 14, this year’s project hopes to package 100,000 meals for food banks across Missouri.

 

Missouri FFA teamed with Missouri Farmer’s Care for the first Missouri FFA Food Insecurity Service Day. On Aug. 15, 2017, more than 350 FFA students and volunteers spent the day packing 52,032 meals to feed families of up to six people.

 

In an effort to combat childhood food insecurity in the state, Missouri Farmers Care has launched a summer of service with Drive to Feed Kids, a program that leverages existing food bank and distribution networks to deliver kid-friendly meals to youth. Food is delivered through backpack programs and in-school food pantries to help children in food-insecure households.

 

Dr. Alan Wessler, chairman of Missouri Farmers Care, said the Missouri State Fair is an appropriate venue to celebrate the best of Missouri agriculture as well as address the food-security challenges that too many Missourians face.

 

“Hunger isn’t an issue that only happens somewhere else,” Dr. Wessler said. “It is a pervasive concern across Missouri’s rural communities.” A recent study from Feeding America revealed that food insecurity exists in every county in the nation, from a high of 38 percent in Jefferson County, Mississippi, to a low of 3 percent in Grant County, Kansas. The study also showed that:

 

  • Children are at greater risk of hunger than the general population. Across all counties, 21 percent are food insecure, compared to 14 percent of the general population.

 

  • Food-insecure individuals are often ineligible for federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and free and reduced-priced school lunch programs, underscoring the importance of not only the charitable food assistance sector but also a strong and effective safety net of public nutrition assistance programs.

 

  • 76 percent of counties in the top 10 percent of food-insecure counties are rural. Predominantly rural counties have higher rates of food insecurity than urban counties.

 

“All of us in agriculture are focused on doing our best to produce food,” Dr. Wessler said. “But we’re also focused on making our communities the best place they can be. When our youth face uncertainty about access to nutritious food, it presents challenges in coming to school ready to learn and thrive. It is time to consider what we can do to help. The good news is that our partner through Drive to Feed Kids, Feeding Missouri, has a proven and efficient way to deliver food to those who most need it.”

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Living to Serve

Interested in serving other FFA members?

Consider sharing your skills and talents by becoming a Missouri State FFA Officer?

Check out the state officer application procedure at state convention here.

 

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Be Better

Abby Bertz, casual

Abby Bertz – President

2018 has arrived. Hopefully 2017 brought you much love, sacrifice and success. With 2018 we find new beginnings and the opportunity for better than we might have had last year.

 

As most of us find ourselves doing, I was recently scrolling through my Facebook feed. On this social media platform, I have friends from my hometown, around the state, nation and even world. Every day, the app provides me with opinions, pictures and memories from each of these people from all kinds of places. Yesterday, however, this app provided me with a special kind of motivation, motivation from a very special lady right from my hometown.

 

This favorite history teacher of mine pledged a word for 2018, something many have begun to do in place of a New Year’s Resolution. This word is meant to be a constant reminder, a solid aspiration, and a theme for the year. Her word? “Better.”

 

Ms. Stever pledges to be better. Not better than anyone, she says, but a better her—a better her for everyone. Every day, she will strive to “eat better, get better, think better, and love better, on and on.”

 

Just like Ms. Stever, we can embody “better” by thinking about how we can better ourselves, get better at being ourselves, and hold ourselves to a standard of better. We can be better friends, FFA members, siblings and students. There is, and always will be, room for better.

 

Better is progress. And, our starting points and progress will differ from every single person around us. That, friends, is the beauty part of “better.”

 

This year, let’s find what makes us better and what makes us want to be better. I know the organization we call home is a stepping-stone in this adventure. Allow it to by helping a friend with his or her upcoming Career Development Event, signing up for your first public speaking contest, going to FFA Camp, or even encouraging others to do the things that you found benefit from.

 

A better you for a better us, and ultimately a better organization, industry and world.

 

Like Ms. Stever, I pledge myself to be better. Will you?

 

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The Christmas Cow

Justin Belew, casual

Justin Below – VP

The holidays are for spending time with friends, family and for those in production agriculture — for continually caring for our livestock as colder weather seeps into the landscape. This colder weather means our livestock will normally stick closer to the feed and water supply that becomes increasingly more necessary as lower temperatures set in.

 

This is normally the case for my family’s small commercial beef cattle herd, but this year, one cow in particular decided to change things up. A mature and easy-going cow managed to find her way out of our pasture’s fence THREE times over Christmas Eve, Christmas day and the day after. It seemed that she was on a mission to discover every failure in the fence. At the time, it seemed extremely inconvenient to be fixing fence and dealing with a loose cow around Christmas. However, when looking back on the experience, I began to reevaluate the situation. Many times, whether in FFA or in life, we will encounter failures just like that cow found the failures in the fence. Instead of focusing on the negative effects, it is just as important to keep a positive attitude and look for the opportunity to grow.

 

Although it was stressful to safely re-secure the cow, we were able to fix the fence before a larger problem could have occurred. Without a doubt, we will make mistakes in our lives, but it is how we react and learn from our mistakes that allow us to improve. Remember, the next time a failure strikes us down, look on the up side, there might be more hidden benefits than we realize.

 

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How To Win When You Lose

Rhiannen Schneider, casual

Rhiannen Schneider – VP

American industrialist Henry Ford once said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” This concept is one that surrounds us all as FFA members. From the early days crafting our Supervised Agricultural Experience programs to the late nights finishing our State FFA Degree applications, failure exists. Failure is prevalent, and quite frankly, it is often one of the hardest things we face as members of this organization. Although it can be hard to look failure in the eyes, a graceful comeback from a major setback can teach us some of the best lessons, even better than the ones we learn when we win. So, how in the world can we turn our greatest losses, biggest challenges and most triumphant failures into successes — into life lessons — and into our most joyful wins?
1. Take a deep breath. In the wise words of famous author C.S. Lewis, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” It is unexplainably hard to fall short of your own or others’ expectations. However, if you take a step back and put your life into perspective, there is always more to come.

  1. Make a list. What did you do? What was wrong with it? What would have made you successful, rather than a failure? How can you change your actions, moving forward? According to American economist, Leonard Schlesinger, “Failure doesn’t mean the game is over, it means try again with experience.” This is your opportunity to gather your thoughts in a reflective way and use them to craft a second attempt.
  2. Try, try again. Take another chance. Give it another go. Looking to the words of Maya Angelou, “you may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.” Using the knowledge you gained in steps one and two, make another attempt. This is your chance to turn things around.
  3. Reflect some more. What went differently the second time around? How did you improve? What changes did you make, and how did these changes impact the outcome?
  4. Repeat! This cycle is not fool proof. Even with reflection, planning and action, there will continue to be failures, short-comings and disappointments. However ,with the right mindset, you will begin to use these failures to build successes, to learn from your mistakes and to turn these losses into wins.

As the future of agriculture, you will face hardships. This journey will not always be easy, and failure will always exist. However, if we use our failures to build successes, we will always be winners.

 

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Connect to Vibrant Colors

Abby Turner, casual

Abby Turner – VP

Looking back on my first semester of college, one class period of Ag Ed Leadership weighs on my mind. Dr. Tummons had yet another great lesson for our class. He held up his daughter’s painting from elementary school. The painting featured a vast array of vivid colors. It was a woman with bright red hair, a blue top, a purple mountain behind her, and it featured a large yellow-orange sun peeking through the background.

 

Dr. Tummons told us he was going to recreate her painting and needed us to shout out the colors we saw. The class yelled out the colors blue, red, orange, yellow, green and purple. He poured some of each color onto a pallet and started with the red paint. However, instead of using the red paint on his brush to begin painting, he put it in the blue paint next to it. He continued to mix all the colors together until they made a dull light brown. He then casually began recreating the painting starting with the woman and finishing with the sun peaking out behind the mountains.

 

Then, Dr. Tummons turned, to what I can only assume to be a class full of confused faces, and asked which painting we thought was more beautiful. His daughter’s with the array of colors or his that was all dull brown. We answered obviously the one with all the beautiful colors. The paintings were a representation of life, and the colors represented people.

 

Life is beautiful and interesting because we are different and bring a unique color to the painting. If we were exactly like everyone else, our picture would be painted with the same color. All the shapes would remain, but the eye-catching appeal of an intricate and beautiful color scheme would be lost.

 

As the school year continues, stay connected to your own vibrant color. Do not be afraid to be yourself and strive to become the best version of you. As tempting as it might be to want to become like another person, the world really needs more you. Like Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” Let’s all use our individual colors so that together we will create a masterpiece!

 

FFA members, are you ready to rise to the challenge?

 

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Looking Back and Moving Forward

Madelyn Warren, casual

Madelyn Warren – VP

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…And hearts will be glowing when love ones are near…It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” This song is one of my absolute favorites. In my humble opinion, it perfectly describes the holiday season. My father used to tell me that there are two types of people in the world: those that love Christmas music and those that haven’t been introduced to the right Christmas music. I fall into the first category. I cannot get enough of the cheerful lyrics and happy notes that accompany them. I am also one of those people that you can catch humming Christmas songs under their breath all year around. After all, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a mindset!

 

Christmas is when we can sit around with our loved ones and look back at the year. We can see all of our accomplishments and look at them with pride, and this year there is plenty look back on! Missouri FFA has set a number of records, including having more members at the state convention than ever before, packaging more than 50,000 meals for Food Insecurity Day at the Missouri State Fair and having the most American Degree recipients at the 90th National FFA Convention and Expo!

 

Christmas is also a time when we can look at the coming year with a sense of hope and determination. There are endless possibilities for us as to look forward to. We might find ourselves working on a new contest team, attending a leadership conference for the first time, or adding a new portion to our SAE. Either way, these new experiences are both exciting and challenging ones. They will push us to break out of our comfort zones and grow as individuals. To learn new things and apply them to our lives, just as we are told to do in the FFA motto. However, it is not until we accept that the previous year has come to an end and embrace the new one before we can rise to the challenge of making 2018 even better than the year before!

 

FFA members, are you ready to rise to the challenge?

 

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Back Up Plan

Mariah Fox, casual

Mariah Fox – VP

Growing up with a father as an agriculture educator, I was always exposed to the contests offered in FFA. In a sense, I was almost like an honorary member of each team. Every contest season, I was there to help dad with training his team. The knowledge and experience I received, while watching my dad prepare teams for competition made me eager to be part of my own contest team, when I became a FFA member.

My freshman year, I competed in the knowledge contest; my sophomore year, I was on the dairy cattle team. My junior year, I was a member of my favorite team, ag sales. Having achieved previous success increased my excitement for my senior year when I signed up for the meats team. However, as the list started to fill up for tryouts, I noticed seven others on the list. This meant we had to cut people for the final team.

For the next month, I studied meats like it was going out of style. I thought I was ready to claim my spot on the team, however, after taking the test I did not make the cut. Devastation was all I felt, and I didn’t know what team I would be on. After a talk with my advisor, I decided on job interview. This last-minute decision taught me so much.

In life, we always seem to have a plan of where we want to go and what we want to do. Sometimes our plans change, and we are left trying to figure out what is next. It’s always good to have a back up plan. You never know where life will take you, but with a plan you will feel more secure.

 

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Missouri Youth Institute

Do you want to help change the world? The Missouri Youth Institute is a life-changing experience at the University of Missouri where high school students engage with local leaders and experts on critical global challenges, participate in hands-on activities, and explore exciting ways to make a difference in Missouri and around the world.

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