Hannah Shanks
Oct 08 2021

Worker Ants

Worker ants. They help their colonies in any way they can. Each one has a specialized job whether it be building and mending the network of the colony, bringing in food, or caring for the young. Each one helps keep the colony running smoothly. When I think of ants, I think of them joining together to help carry heavy loads back to the colony. With the power of many, they can carry loads that totally exceed what one ant could ever do by itself. Together, they are able to bring food and building supplies back to their colony to improve quality of life. 


The cooperation of an ant colony reminds me of community service. FFA members across the state do all sorts of great service projects that benefit their communities every day. In FFA, we focus on building communities, and these service projects do just that. One example happened this past summer at the Missouri State Fair. FFA members from across the state packed more than 201,000 meals at the annual Drive to Feed Kids. The meals are distributed to food banks across Missouri and impact our communities. The Doniphan FFA chapter helped us pack meals, and when they were volunteering at their food bank back home, they got to see first hand how these meals made a difference in their community as they handed out those FFA emblem-branded bags to citizens in need. 


This is just one instance of how we can come together and accomplish big goals in our community. I challenge you to think outside the box and see what you can do in your community to give back. We all have the ability to give back to our communities and make a difference in our world!

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Briscoe Named MO FFA Executive Secretary

Teresa Briscoe

We are pleased to introduce Ms. Teresa Briscoe as the new Agricultural Education Leadership Supervisor (MO FFA Executive Secretary).  Teresa brings a wealth of knowledge with youth development and agricultural education to our team.  Her work experience includes 4-H Youth Specialist (4 years), Agriculture instructor and FFA Advisor (20 years of experience) with Mark Twain, Madison C-3, Keytesville, and Paris agricultural departments, and most recently experience working with two veterinary offices.  Many of you may know Teresa as one of the staff who has helped for years in the Swine Barn at the MO State Fair. Teresa enjoys time with her children – Mindy a veterinarian at Paris and Aaron a Captain in the Army National Guard flying helicopters out of Jefferson City.


Teresa stated in her application:  “I am excited for the possibility to contribute my talents and proficiency in a team atmosphere toward the promotion of career success, personal growth and leadership development.”


Teresa’s contact info:
Email: Teresa.Briscoe@dese.mo.gov
Phone:  573-751-8578


Please join our staff and welcome Teresa back home in agricultural education/MO FFA.

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Dietzschold to Lead Missouri Agricultural Education

Keith Dietzschold, MO Ag Education DirectorThe Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently named Keith Dietzschold Agricultural Education director and Missouri FFA Association state advisor, effective July 1, 2021. He takes over for Leon Busdieker who retired June 30. Dietzschold was previously northwest district supervisor and state FFA executive secretary.


“The agriculture education profession has been an exciting one,” Dietzschold said. “I am an educational professional by choice, not by chance. Today’s students are our future, and I have the opportunity to work with people who help shape and mold the future leaders of this great state and nation. Nothing could be more rewarding!”


Dietzschold received a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1982. After returning home to farm with his father in the family’s row crop and swine operation, Dietzschold returned to MU to complete a Master’s in Education, Agriculture Education emphasis, and graduated in December 1984.


A former agricultural education instructor and FFA Advisor, Dietzschold taught in Chillicothe, Cameron and Lathrop before joining DESE in 2011. He is a member of the National Association for Agriculture Educators and Missouri Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (MVATA). He has also served on numerous committees for the National FFA Organization and MVATA. Dietzschold was honored in 2018 with the Peter Myers Distinguished Service Award, was named Teacher of the Year by the Missouri Vocational Association in 1997 and was an Eddy Award Winner from Missouri Public Education in 1998. He is also a past recipient of the MVATA Distinguished Service Award.


Dietzschold and his wife, Linda, reside in Boonville. They have two grown children and one granddaughter.


As director of agricultural education and state FFA advisor, Dietzschold will oversee Missouri’s agricultural education program, including the state’s 351 FFA chapters and 25,662 members. The FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

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2021 National Finalists


CDE/LDE Participants

  • Ag Issues – Paris
  • Ag Sales – Audrain County R-VI
  • Ag Mechanics – Hermann
  • Agronomy – Hollister
  • Conduct of Meetings – North Shelby
  • Creed – Macy Stauffer – Eldorado Springs
  • Dairy Cattle – Savannah
  • Employment Skills – Trevor Campbell – Cass Career Center
  • Environmental/Nat Res. – St. James
  • Extemp Speaking – Vanessa Enslow – East Newton
  • Farm Bus. Mgt – Hermann – Advancing
  • Floriculture – Palmyra – Advancing
  • Food Science – Elsberry – Advancing
  • Forestry – Forsyth – Advancing
  • Horse – Clinton
  • Livestock – Troy
  • Meats – Van-Far
  • Milk Quality – Savannah
  • Nursery/Landscape – Archie
  • Parliamentary – Troy
  • Poultry – Paris
  • Public Speaking – Grant Norfleet – Mexico
  • Vet Science – Columbia
Animal: Freiburger & Freiburger, Verona
Environmental/ Natural Resources: Jonah Visser, Tuscumbia
Environmental/ Natural Resources: Schieffer & Winberry, Troy
Environmental/ Natural Resources: Jonah Visser, Tuscumbia
Food Products/Processing: Kylie Cline, Tuscumbia
Plant Systems: Abigail Burns, Gallatin
Plant Systems: White & Hillhouse, Verona
Plant Systems: George Frees, Cass Career Center
Power, Structural, Technical: Sam Tummons, Columbia
Social: Abby Eddy, Columbia
Social: Blakemore & Dureault, Walnut Grove
Model of Excellence — Aurora
Model of Excellence — Braymer
Building Communities — Centralia
Strengthening Agriculture — Elsberry
Strengthening Agriculture — Mexico
Model of Excellence & Growing Leaders — Paris
  • 539 American Degree Recipients
  • National Officer Candidate – Alexandra Gast
  • 14 National Delegates
  • 1 National Talent Performer   Owen Kloeppel, Vienna
  • National Nominating Committee Member – Jacob Knabel, Fatima
  • 3 National Chorus Members

Sophia Mudd, Monroe City; Emaleigh Wallace, Winfield; Grace Williams, Winfield

  • 10 National Band Members

Maddy Aust, Pierce City; Taryn Fuemmeler, Glasgow; Oscar Hilgedick, Ashland; Cora Johnson, Montgomery County R-II; Gavin King, Pierce City; Owen Neely, Lockwood; Hannah Rice, Brunswick; Brooke Wagner, Ashland; Taylor Watts, Elsberry; David Welter, Stewartsville

  • 2 Teachers receiving Honorary American Degree

Jay Shepherd, Mount Vernon; Jeff Voris, Halfway

  • 7 Individuals receiving Honorary American Degree

Tami Craig Schilling, St. Louis; Erik Curry, St. Louis; Mike Deering, Columbia; Jill Fansler, Jefferson City; Diane Slater, Columbia; Gary Wheeler, Jefferson City; Amy Wieberg, Jefferson City

  • 1 VIP Citation – Leon Busdieker, Hawk Point
  • Hall of States – Winston FFA
Agricultural Education: Brylee Williams, Princeton
Agricultural Sales – Entrepreneurship: Keiren Watkins, Northwest Technical School
Agricultural Sales – Placement: Brittany Hirsch, Thayer
Agriscience Plant Systems Research: George Frees, Cass Career Center
Diversified Crop Production – Entrepreneurship: Connor Keithley, Chillicothe
Environmental Science & Natural Resource Management: Kale Campbell, Chillicothe
Poultry Production: Arin Starne, Bronaugh
Service Learning: Ethan Chapman, Paris
Specialty Animal Production: Jason Douglas, East Prairie
Veterinary Science: Brett Montgomery, Brookfield
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Sep 16 2021

Just Keep Swimming

One of my favorite Disney movies has always been Finding Nemo.  My favorite character is Dory because not only do we both struggle to remember things at times, but also because she is one of the most optimistic characters in the world.  I have found myself repeating her classic phrase, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” whenever I’m in a rough place.  


There is a line in the FFA creed that reads, “I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations…”.  From the very beginning we all knew there would be joyful success and uncomfortable struggles.  We all need to know the agricultural industry and life in general will always have its ups and downs. Just this last year FFA faced a huge struggle with COVID-19. Many of us didn’t know how to overcome this struggle, but we just kept moving forward. Now look at where we are. We are going to be attending an in-person National FFA Convention for the first time in two years, and you can bet that it’s going to be the best convention yet!


FFA members, we’ve  all been through some struggles over the last few years, and even the last few months.  However, what makes us stronger is not when we fall, but when we get back up. We always need to keep moving forward and overcome our struggles.  As you move forward this year and in the future, remember, FFA members, to always “Just Keep Swimming.” 

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Sep 16 2021

Be Prepared

Growing up, I was very active in the Boy Scouts, eventually earning my Eagle Scout rank this year. The Boy Scouts have a few core values, such as our motto, “Be Prepared”. Our motto was something that always stuck with me. Whether it was simply bringing a poncho to a football game when it is supposed to rain or making sure I have enough gas in my car to make a road trip, I always strive to “Be Prepared” for whatever may come my way. 


I think the Boy Scout motto is something we as FFA members can apply to our time spent in the blue jacket as well. In our ever-changing world, we are constantly being faced with many struggles and challenges in the agricultural industry. As FFA members, it is our duty to Be Prepared to educate our peers with the truth behind our industry we are all so passionate about. 


Personally, I don’t come from an agricultural background. I did not live on a farm, show a steer at the county fair, or even own a pair of cowboy boots, but I knew how important it was for me as an FFA member to share the truths of the agricultural industry to those around me. My SAE consists of owning/operating a house plant shop in my hometown, and one of my main focuses is to share the background and science of the plant industry with those who otherwise, may not get to learn. 


FFA members, my challenge to you is this: Find your connection to agriculture. Whether that is something more traditional such as raising beef or having a row crop operation, or selling plants from other countries, Be Prepared. Prepared to share, prepared to learn, prepared to educate. Be prepared for whatever may come your way. 

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Sep 06 2021

Drive to Feed Kids Provides More than 2 Million Meals to Missourians in Need

Missouri Farmers Care Foundation proudly announced Saturday, Aug. 21, that resources were raised to provide 2,015,088 meals to help feed hungry children across our state through the 2021 Drive to Feed Kids.


“Over 10 years ago, the leadership of Missouri Farmers Care saw there was a gap between the hard work of our farmers and ranchers producing food year-round for consumers, and what ended up on Missourians’ dinner tables,” said Executive Director of Missouri Farmers Care Foundation Ashley McCarty. “They felt called to fill in that gap on behalf of those who couldn’t do anything to change their situation. Out of that effort evolved the Drive to Feed Kids.”


This year, Missouri’s agricultural youth programs partnered with the Drive to raise meals for communities across the state. Missouri 4-H members donated 356,665 meals during their 4-H Feeding Missouri campaign which ran January – April 2021 and packed an additional 500 meal boxes for veterans at the Missouri State Fair. On Aug. 17, more than 700 Missouri FFA Association members and agricultural leaders came together at the Missouri State Fair to pack 203,544 family meals for the Missouri FFA Food Insecurity Day.


The Drive to Feed Kids campaign continues to expand its partnerships and ways to donate. The Hogs for Hunger program, previously known as the Missouri Farmers Care Pork Partnership, connected Missouri pig farmers, 4-H and FFA exhibitors to meat processors and local food banks. More than 900 pounds of ground pork was provided by Missouri State Fair swine exhibitors and a partnership with Feeding Missouri has contributed an additional 205,883 pounds of high-quality protein to all six regional food banks. Missouri pig farmers can still donate to their local food bank through this program. Missouri Farmers Care Foundation will reimburse $1 per pound donated to cover processing fees.


Governor Mike Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson, along with Missouri elected officials and agricultural leaders, joined the cause on Thursday, Aug. 19. Together, they packed 500 share boxes that will provide nourishment to central Missouri families in need.


Fairgoers participated in the events by bringing non-perishable food items and monetary donations on Missouri Farmers Care Food Drive $2 Tuesday. Through these activities and a generous canned food donation by Woods Supermarket, more than 13,000 pounds of non-perishable food was donated to local pantries. In addition, Missouri FFA donated fresh produce from FFA student projects on display at the fair. The year-long campaign concluded Saturday, Aug. 21 at the Missouri State Fair.


“There are thousands of hard-working Missourians who can’t make ends meet and don’t have enough to feed their families. That’s just a reality in Missouri,” said State Director of Feeding Missouri Scott Baker. “However, another reality is the heart and commitment of Missouri’s farmers to do all they can to help neighbors in need. The impact of the Drive to Feed Kids campaign is substantial and we are truly grateful.”


To learn more about Drive to Feed Kids events and how you can get involved, visitwww.MOFarmersCare.com/drive. Photos from this year’s Drive to Feed Kids’ events can also be found on the Missouri Farmers Care Flickr pageClick Here.


Sponsorship of Missouri Farmers Care Foundation’s Drive to Feed Kids was provided by: Bayer, Brownfield Ag News, Missouri Farmers Care, American Family Insurance, FCS Financial, MFA Incorporated, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Bicentennial Commission, NutraBlend, Allen P. & Josephine B. Green Foundation, Jerry Litton Family Memorial Foundation, American Family Dreams Foundation, Missouri Pork Association, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, Forrest and Charlotte Lucas – Founders of Protect the Harvest, Missouri State Fair Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Alan Wessler, Midwest Dairy, Sydenstricker Nobbe Partners John Deere, PFI Western Store, Citizens Electric Cooperative, Platte Clay Electric, Ricketts Farm Service, Inc., Robert Hertzog, DVM, Mid-Buchanan FFA Alumni Boosters, Missouri FFA Association, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri State Fair, Missouri 4-H and the contributions of many Missouri farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.

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Sep 06 2021

Passing Defeat with Grace

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated” – Maya Angelou.

I stumbled across these words while searching for my senior quote this past year. At first I stared at it, wondering what on earth the woman was talking about. But as I continued to re-read the quote, the absolute brilliance of the statement hit me. These words acknowledge that life is going to throw you a few curveballs. There are things that are going to cross your path that simply knock you flat on your back, but no matter what, you cannot stay on the ground. 


In the moment that you stare defeat in the face, it might seem impossibly large. It might seem as though it is a mountain that you will never move. It might seem easier to simply give up. But if you keep working and keep pushing yourself past your defeat, the victory will be that much greater. 


Throughout our FFA careers and life, we will face many obstacles, many things that feel like a huge loss. But we cannot let one setback hold us down. A football team doesn’t let a loss early in a season affect the playoffs. An FFA member doesn’t let one bad day of a career or leadership development event affect him or her when the district contest comes around. I challenge all of us to move past our defeats with grace and keep pushing ourselves and the people around us toward our victories. 

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Grant Norfleet
Sep 03 2021

We All Play A role

Growing up, I was a child of the Fine Arts before I was a child of Agriculture. I took piano lessons, participated in art workshops, and even dabbled in a bit of dance. But we don’t talk about the dance thing; Let’s just say it didn’t work out. However, one of my favorite summer activities was participating in Theatre Camp at my community’s performing arts center. 


One of the most memorable moments I had at Theatre Camp was when I played the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. During the opening night of the show, I was on stage ready to start my very first scene. Dorothy and Toto prance across the yellow brick road over to the centerstage cornfield. There I was, standing on center stage in silence with a thousand eyeballs focused on me; I had forgotten my line. I did not know what to do. I began to panic and could feel myself starting to sweat, but soon before I knew it, my friend playing Dorthy knew exactly how to help me out━the show must go on!


My Theatre Camp experiences often remind me of the roles we play as FFA members. In our organization, we all play a key role on the agricultural stage. Regardless of our connection to the agriculture industry, we all have the opportunity to use our unique roles to produce the story of agriculture. Even though we cannot be involved in all aspects of agriculture, we as FFA members can build relationships with each other, so we can have connections to the diverse cast of agriculturalists. Whether you participate in agriscience research, raise livestock, grow crops or even work at a local restaurant, your role in agriculture matters. Step out onto the agriculture stage and let your story be in the limelight. 

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Aug 02 2021

Be Stronger

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Stand a little taller. Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone. What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter. Footsteps are even lighter. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stronger.” Stronger by Kelly Clarkson is a world known hit or to others it might be just another annoying song on the radio. But to me, this song has been my life’s motto for the past three years. 


I tore my meniscus in my left knee twice. Within nine months, I endured two surgeries, many days of physical therapy and was placed on crutches for nearly a year. No one understood the physical and emotional stress the experience caused me. I began my sophomore year of high school on crutches and was stuck in the school library to do my school work. After my first surgery I viewed that struggle as just a hurdle, because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But the second surgery and recovery did not go so smoothly. I sat on the bench and watched my teammates play on the court, sat on the bleachers watching my friends in the show ring, and I wasn’t able to participate on my chapter officer team as much as I used to. My motto of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” just became another inspirational quote you would see on a picture at Hobby Lobby. I was caught up in the things I wouldn’t be able to do anymore and lost sight of what was important. Watching myself become bitter and distant from friends, family, clubs and school work. I wasn’t myself and I couldn’t see the joy in life anymore.


We all experience bumps in the road, where paths take a sharp turn in a different direction. It took a strong talking to from my parents and for me to come to the realization that these challenges and bumps I was facing were not for the worse, they only made me stronger. 


I challenge you to go throughout your life with this same motto. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience where you really stop and look fear in the face. Where you are able to stop and think, “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger?”

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Jul 28 2021

Get Started

As I watched the Tokyo Olympics from the comfort of my couch, I saw a Toyota commercial play on the television. The commercial showcased several young athletes from different walks of life contemplating the decisions. While seeing their idols succeed in their ventures, they felt lost and unsure of their direction. The negative thoughts rolled through their minds . . .

“Am I good enough?”

“You’re not going to make it.”

“Just quit.”

Later in the commercial, the athletes find their motivation to push through their adversity and reach their goals. The commercial concludes with the phrase “You don’t have to be amazing to start, but you have to start to be amazing.” It begs the question: “If not now, when?”

During my junior year, I was determined to try something new. I reached out to my advisor about the possibility of competing in the Employment Skills contest. However, after watching COVID bring cancellations, the shutdown gave me negative thoughts making me wonder if what I was doing was worth the effort. Although I had to compete virtually, I was still able to learn how to present myself while gaining many skills that will be valuable whenever I apply for a job. 

Throughout the next year, there will be countless opportunities to take advantage of. Career Development Events will push us to learn more about an industry or challenge us to grow our leadership skills. Other events will allow us to network and grow friendships. Each of us has the choice to rise or sink through the actions we take each day, to move a step closer to our goals or to sit stagnant. 

Choosing to make a positive difference in our own lives allows us to take that next step to fulfilling our goals. All we have to do is get started.

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Jul 14 2021

Thermostat or Thermometer?

“Are you a thermostat or a thermometer?” This is a question I often asked myself throughout my time in the FFA as I worked to develop my leadership skills. A thermostat will set the climate by staying true to core values and making a positive impact on the environment. On the other hand, a thermometer only  reflects the environment they are surrounded by. A thermostat can see a problem and provide a fix while a thermometer might see a problem but will continue to live in it.  

As we navigate our way through school, FFA and life, it is important to reflect on how the choices we make might impact our families, our communities and our chapters. Use this mentality when engaging with an officer team in a chapter meeting. Whether you are an officer or not, bringing new ideas into the meeting room will allow each member to explore opportunities to advance the chapter. The thermostat will see a need within a community and initiate a community garden that supplies the local food pantry with fresh produce, one who pushes their chapter to attend National FFA Convention for the first time, one who encourages their fellow members to compete in Career Development Events. You see, leadership is not limited to those who hold an office or win a speech contest, leadership lies in the heart of those who make an impact on the environment around them, just like a thermostat.

I challenge each of you to look at your chapters and communities like a thermostat. What can you do to help? How can you make a positive difference? Leadership lies in each and every one of us; each of us are capable of making a difference. That difference can be something extraordinarily huge or it can change a small piece of your hometown. Regardless of size, your impact will change lives. So, will you be a thermometer or will you be a thermostat? The choice is yours.

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Jul 14 2021

Dare to be Different

“If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” This thought-provoking quote comes from the unmatchable, Maya Angelou. Maya was a fearless leader in our country, standing up for what she believed in, and teaching others to do the same through her famous poems, books, and other writings.


I attempted to be a fearless leader, much like Maya Angelou last week during the Audrain County Historical Society’s History Camp. Yes, you read that right, History Camp! I know, it sounds like the most utterly boring thing you have ever heard of, but I personally believe nothing can top it! I am by no means a history buff, but attending History Camp, as both a camper and counselor has taught me the importance of our past, as well as finding something odd and different to be a part of. 


When summer camp time rolls around, and the History Camp facilitator contacts me, I am ecstatic. All of my friends and family members know just how important camp is to me. However, each year they continue to give me a funny look and laugh at my obsession and excitement to attend camp. As a camper, I would take it offensively. Not only was this originally out of my comfort zone, but it was also something none of my friends would try. I realized I was being different, maybe a little odd, but I was adding another experience to my “give-it-a-try” list. 


Over the many years I have been involved in History Camp, I have made countless friends, met government officials and leaders, as well as learned about our country’s history, and my own county’s history, in a hands-on environment. I have tried new foods from a variety of eras, built boats and even created a mini rocket. 


FFA members, I’m not asking you to join me at History Camp, or become involved in an activity that makes you uncomfortable, but rather to try something completely different than your typical interest. Give it a chance; you never know what may happen until you try it. Just as Maya Angelou said, if you try to be normal and fit in with the social norm, you will never find your true passions or interests. Dare to be different and unleash your potential to find out how amazing you can be. 


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Jul 14 2021

A Frigid Realization

Freezing wind blew against my thick barricade of coats as I ventured out looking for a missing heifer. With snow up to the middle of my shins, it was hard to walk. Frustration stormed inside of me as I slowly moved through a thicket of cedar saplings. After a long week of frigid temperatures and losing calves, I was more than ready to quit. Finally, I laid eyes on my missing heifer. 


At her side, she has a determined newborn trying to stand and nurse for the first time. For a while I stood and watched the new calf fall down only to get back up and try it all again, reluctant to get the warm milk that was waiting for it. No matter how many times the calf fell, it continued trying to get up, until eventually it was successful. As I stood there, I realized I needed to be more like that resilient newborn. 


After a long, hard year filled with challenges and inconveniences, I was ready to call it quits and give up. However, I learned I just needed to continue my attempts at standing and reaching for achievements waiting for me. Instead of focusing on what was dragging me down, I needed to look for what was there when I stood. I decided I wasn’t going to let the negatives drag me down anymore, I was going to stand. 


When we are faced with challenges, it makes it easy to forget what we are working toward. As we embrace our future, it’s important we become like that newborn calf. No matter what obstacles are weighing you down, don’t forget to keep trying to stand and stay focused on what lies ahead and you are working toward. 

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Jun 30 2021

Missouri Corn and Missouri FFA Helping Build Future Leaders

Thirty incoming seniors from across the state participated in the Missouri FFA HYPE Academy, sponsored by the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, June 22-24 in Jefferson City to sharpen their leadership and advocacy skills. Photo Credit: Missouri Corn Merchandising Council

Missouri’s top 30 FFA high school seniors completed the seventh annual Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence (HYPE) FFA Academy June 22-24, in Jefferson City, Mo. The three-day intensive program is designed to inform and empower students to effectively engage on pressing agriculture topics. Since 2015, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) has sponsored and facilitated the academy in conjunction with Missouri FFA.


“Missouri Corn is proud to support the HYPE Academy and invest in the future of our industry,” said MCMC board member Jay Fischer of Jefferson City. “Having visited with the FFA students this week, I was impressed with their understanding of issues impacting agriculture and their passion for making a difference. It is clear the future is bright for these young adults, and we look forward to welcoming them to the agriculture industry after they complete their education.”


Over the three days, students participated in sessions promoting advocacy training, social media, communications, and stakeholder collaboration. In addition, discussions included overcoming adversity, developing a personal brand, and engaging those with opposing viewpoints. Students learned from farmers, industry representatives, social media experts, and others on effectively advocating on issues facing the industry. The group also explored the Missouri Soybean Center for Soy Innovation.


“HYPE is a great opportunity for students to engage in real-world agricultural issues and sharpen their leadership and advocacy skills,” noted Missouri FFA Advisor Leon Busdieker. “By sharing what they have learned when they return home, participants create a ripple effect within their chapter, strengthening the voice of members across the state.”


Capping off the three-day HYPE Academy, participants presented testimony to Missouri legislators during mock hearings on agricultural issues June 24 in the State Capitol. Photo Credit: Missouri Corn Merchandising Council

In culmination, participants testified on key issues during mock hearings with legislators at the Missouri State Capitol. This year’s topics included the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, estate taxes, waterway infrastructure, agriculture inspections, and eminent domain. Missouri Sens. Mike Bernskoetter (R-Jefferson City) and Barbara Washington (D-Kansas City), and State Reps. Rusty Black (R-Chillicothe), Kent Haden (R-Mexico), Greg Sharpe (R-Ewing), Sara Walsh (R-Ashland), Louis Riggs (R-Hannibal), and Tracy McCreery (D-St. Louis) interacted with and challenged the students. Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn concluded the academy by empowering participants to use their newfound skills as they continue to represent Missouri’s number one industry.


The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council is an organization of corn growers dedicated to developing and expanding corn markets, educating growers and customers, and exploring new research opportunities. The National FFA Organization makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Contact Missouri Corn Associate Director of Communications Hilary Black at (800) 827-4181 or hblack@mocorn.org for more information about HYPE Academy.

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