Dec 28 2021

A Flaky Fail

Of all the delicious foods my grandma makes, my favorite is her apple pie. So, when I was 11 years old, I was determined to learn her recipe. I watched her smoothly move around the kitchen grabbing one spice, scooping out her sugar, measuring out her flour, and elegantly designing the crust. After practicing with her a few times, I finally learned some of the smaller details that make her pies go a cut above the rest.


I learned that I love spending time baking in the kitchen. After a while, I no longer needed to look at the recipe card since I had memorized the process like the back of my hand. Whenever holidays or birthdays came around, I was the one to fill the house with the delicious aroma when called on to bake the Hansen apple pie. While baking is most definitely an art and often requires people to be flexible, I was determined in one thing: I want to be alone when working in the kitchen. 


Some of it may be that I don’t want people to get in my way when moving around the kitchen. Another part may be that I have pride and am confident in my work and don’t want other’s help. I became efficient in the kitchen, cranking out pies in record time. But all bakers have instances where we make mistakes. Mine came when I quickly grabbed a reddish-brown spice that started with a “C” in a tall round shaker. I didn’t realize my mishap until I heard my dad coughing after he had taken a bite of the pie. I went back to the cupboard to see that instead of adding a teaspoon of cinnamon, I misread the label and placed a teaspoon of cumin into my apple mix.


My dad made me eat that pie.


I learned that sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to have people check your work. Throughout your time in FFA, you may find things you fall in love with and can do expertly. Yet it remains important that we continue to ask others with more experience for knowledge and help. While we may be great at selling fruit, welding, or giving reasons, there is always room for improvement. While it was most definitely my biggest cooking failure and I needed a big glass of milk to drink with each slice, it reminded me that double checking with a masterchef can keep me from getting served.

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Dec 27 2021

The Storm of Life

As Missouri weather often does, yesterday was beautiful and 60 degrees, today was a freezing 35 degrees. It finally hit me that, hey, it is December, winter is actually here. As I was walking to my class, I started reminiscing about some of my favorite winter memories. I remember one winter in 2007, specifically the ice storm of 2007 . It seemed like the whole world froze over. I thought it was beautiful, you stepped outside, and it was sparkling. Ice coated the trees, fences, grass, and every other surface. My parents on the other hand did not find it so pretty. You see, the ice also covered the roads and powerlines. That meant my house and every other one around me did not have electricity, and we did not have a generator. 


We packed up our belongings and carefully headed to my grandparent’s house — one of the only homes with electricity. When we arrived, the house was filled with the rest of my family who had also lost power.. My aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great grandpa were all gathered in one place for days on end. Four-year-old me had a blast. I saw it as some kind of awesome family party. The adults, however, were ready to get back to their own homes.


As I think about this ice storm, I realize my family was able to survive it together by relying on each other.  Sometimes, our lives can get a little stormy. Whether it is school, sports, work, or home we can be faced with challenges that seem impossible. It is easy to try and handle it all by ourselves. However, there are people around us who love and care for us and want to help. Identify your people and rely on them to help ride out the storm.


Happy New Year!

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Dec 16 2021

2022 Greenhand Motivational Conferences

Date Location Times Area
January 3 Lincoln University-Richardson Aud. 9:00 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 8
January 4 UMC-Natural Resources Aud. 9:00 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 4
January 4 Bowling Green High School 4:00 P.M.  Registration and Pictures 5
January 4 Mo State Fair-Lowell Mohler Hall 9:00 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 6
January 4 Mo State Fair-Lowell Mohler Hall 12:00 P.M.  Registration and Pictures 7
January 4 Waynesville Career Center 2:00 P.M.  Registration and Pictures 13
January 4 Sullivan High School 8:30 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 14
January 5 Truman-Baldwin Audi. 9:30 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 3
January 5 Darr  Ag Center–MSU 12:00 P.M.  Registration and Pictures 9
January 5 Darr  Ag Center–MSU 9:00 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 10
January 5 West Plains Civic Ctr.-MSU 8:30 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 13
January 5 Tinnen Ctr-Three Rivers Comm. College 2:30 P.M.  Registration and Pictures 16
January 6 Ketcham Community Ctr-NCMC 8:00 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 2
January 6 Darr  Ag Center–MSU 12:00 P.M.  Registration and Pictures 11
January 6 Darr  Ag Center–MSU 9:00 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 12
January 6 University Center-SEMO 8:30 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 15
January 7 MO Western St. College Theater 8:30 A.M.  Registration and Pictures 1
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Dec 10 2021

FCS Financial Awards $25,000 in honor of 25,000 FFA members on #GivingTuesday

Missouri is home to approximately 25,000 current FFA members. FCS Financial sees the leadership skills and agriculture education these students are developing. This is why on #GivingTuesday, FCS Financial is donating $25,000, $1 per FFA member, to the newly formed Missouri FFA Foundation.


More than 60 FCS Financial staff members served as local, area, district or state FFA officers. FFA formed the leadership skills and foundation that many of our staff members rely on today to complete their jobs assisting Missouri’s farmers and ranchers.


“The importance of a strong handshake was the first of many communication and leadership skills FFA taught me. Those lessons continue to help me today in my role at FCS Financial,” says Madison Browning, financial services specialist in the Maryville office.


“The vision of the Missouri FFA Foundation closely aligns with the mission of FCS Financial to support rural communities. It seems fitting that on #GivingTuesday we make an inaugural donation of $25,000 in honor of each active member to support the Missouri FFA Foundation in their efforts to advance Missouri FFA,” said David Janish, FCS Financial CEO.


“FCS Financial has always been a friend of Missouri FFA,” says Keith Dietzschold, Missouri FFA Association state advisor and Agricultural Education director. “This donation to the Missouri FFA Foundation helps to secure our ability to continue meeting our vision; “To cultivate the next generation of leaders for the agriculture industry and communities” here in Missouri.”


#GivingTuesday is a global grassroots movement to encourage people to show acts of kindness and generosity in their communities. This is the ten-year anniversary of #GivingTuesday according to It occurs annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.


FCS Financial provides numerous opportunities for youth involved in agriculture through community betterment grants, curriculum development and youth funding programs. To learn more about our involvement, check out our website or follow us on social media.

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Nov 09 2021

Live and Learn

“You live and you learn, and if you mess it up sometimes, nobody’s perfect.”

I’m going to let you in on a small secret, I LOVE Hannah Montana. I was the kid in class with the themed backpack, bed spread, and to even top it off, my very own Hannah Montana wig. Yes, that’s right, I even dressed up as her for Halloween. Over the years, I was fascinated by the number of tough situations she persevered through. In the movie, Hannah was asked by her best friend, Lilly, to attend her birthday party. Instead of attending the party, she chosen to spend the day shopping for the perfect outfit to wear during an upcoming award show. Lilly was her best friend, her rock, her supporter, but Hannah chose to overlook this. She was becoming too concerned with her fame rather than remembering those who helped her get there. Later in the movie, Hannah finds herself involved in two events taking place at the very same time. Not only was she on a date with her childhood crush, but she was attending a dinner with the town’s mayor. She quickly thought of a plan: spend five minutes at either place then run back and forth while also changing outfits. This ‘plan’ worked… for a second or two. Her date noticed that Hannah’s focus was not all on their time together. Likewise, those at the mayor’s dinner noticed her excuses became more and more farfetched. Eventually, Hannah found herself between a rock and a hard spot. Sometimes, like Hannah, we can find ourselves signing up for too many events. In doing so, we spread ourselves too thin, falling short in our responsibilities.


At this point in time, many of you may be asking yourself why I loved her growing up and still refer to the movie as a college student. Although Hannah dug herself into many holes throughout her high school years, she always managed to self-evaluate and offer apologies when one was due. Often as leaders we get too caught up in our current space, we forget where we came from and those who helped us become who we are. Other times, we forget how to manage our schedule. I will be completely honest with you, this year I have struggled with both lessons I learned from Hannah Montana so many years ago. I came to the moment where I needed to self-evaluate while watching the movie with my roommates a couple weeks ago. As leaders, we must take the necessary time to be the very best for those who look up to us, but also for ourselves and teammates. 


FFA members, it is up to you to decide if you will live the best of BOTH worlds.

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Nov 09 2021

What’s Next?

Man! I am exhausted, and I don’t think I can walk another step. Blisters line the bottom of my feet from walking hall after hall of the Indianapolis Convention Center, and up and down the stairs of Lucas Oil Stadium. My voice is scratchy from cheering on all of Missouri’s winners and there is a crick in my neck from sleeping on a flat, feather pillow for six nights in a row. Some of my professors are continuing to remind me to turn in my homework, and I still have a few exams to make up. However, I can tell you one thing for sure; my cup is full, and I feel like I could take on the world. 


For many of us, this story may be painting a very familiar picture, and I’m sure you’ve already pinpointed it – coming home from National FFA Convention. Alongside several of you, I was able to sit in on delegate work and workshops, mingle with members from Missouri and all over the nation. We listened to some phenomenal speakers and National Officers give their keynote addresses. Each of these speakers left us with a challenge, every workshop gave us new tools, and all the members we met left us with a new story and perspective. But what now? How will we implement what we learned?


Let’s start with something small. First, we must reflect on our time spent at convention, all the information we absorbed, and the words we heard. Next, let’s make a list of things we can improve on and the flaws we see. With that list, we can sort the ideas we have for self-improvement and the ideas we want to implement in our homes and communities. We can continue with these ideas to create goals, reach out asking for help, and most importantly acting. While our improvement strategies might seem daunting and scary, don’t forget to be patient and extend grace to yourself and others around you. 


Leaving convention can be bittersweet, but the feeling of wanting to change the world is one of a kind. However, what will you do with the knowledge you’ve gained and the stories you’ve heard?  Will we reminisce on the memories hoping it will come again, or take initiative with what we’ve learned and strive to better ourselves and the community around us?  


Friends, the choice is yours. What will you do next?

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Nov 09 2021

Smells of Thankfulness

The smell of turkey filled the air with its tasteful aroma. Family and friends were scattered all throughout the house having conversations as though they had never been apart. I, myself, was quite ready to end the conversions to begin devouring the food that had been torturing me with its delicious smells.


At this point in time, I was so hungry I could hear my stomach growling louder than a lion and I was confused why no one else was as ready to eat as me. Reluctantly, I made my way over to my grandfather’s side, and I sat there listening to stories about cattle, sports teams and highschool shenanigans. I watched as each of them laughed and enjoyed each other’s company, not worried about what they didn’t have. 


It was then I truly realized how caught up I had gotten in my own wishes, I completely overlooked what I already had. Becoming too focused on my desires, made me completely ignore what amazing things had surrounded me in that moment. On this Thanksgiving, I had put on blinders only to see what I couldn’t acquire instead of recognizing how lucky I was for what I already had. It was then I decided to shift my focus. The blinders were coming off and everything I had around me was going to be fully enjoyed. 


When attracted to something, it becomes very easy to get lost in everything you do not have. As we venture into the future I want to challenge not only myself, but all of you as well to focus on what you have. Be thankful for the now.

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Oct 29 2021

Harvest Season

While I was growing up in production agriculture my dad would always tell me that the work that he made me and my brother do would create a great work ethic in the future, and our potential bosses would want that. This is true; it did create a work ethic in my brother and I that I use to succeed in everything I do. But that does not mean the work was easy, or that I liked it. There were countless days that I wanted to stop and go inside or quit to take a nap. My dad would always say,  “Prior preparation prevents poor performance.” Over time, his words sunk in.


In production agriculture right now, crops are being harvested and livestock are getting ready to give birth. Getting all that set up and lined out takes so much work, but it is worth it when the product is sold to the consumer. Imagine if after planting a field of corn the farmer gave it no care. Some of those plants might survive, but not nearly as many as there would be come harvest time. That crop is going to be worth much less than someone else’s who tended it.. Prior preparation prevents poor performance, and the same is true in FFA.

When competing on a team, getting ready for an interview, or just studying for a test in an ag class, putting in the effort is what makes whatever you are trying to do work. If I showed up to a career development event with no practice, it’s likely that I would perform poorly. If I go into an interview with no practice and I decide to wing it, I am not going to do nearly as well as I would if I took the time to practice.


With contest season almost here, keep in mind the lessons learned by farmers putting a crop in the ground or working with livestock. Cutting corners and not showing up to practices or putting the time in by yourself is setting your eventual harvest up for failure. However, when we put the work in and make the effort, the harvest is plentiful, and we are rewarded with success.  Remember, prior preparation prevents poor performance.

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Oct 08 2021

Thankful for Scary Opportunities

If you have ever been to a haunted house, then you will understand one hundred percent how terrifying they are! There is always something new right around the corner, and you never know what you got yourself into. 


Sometimes we have these opportunities outside of haunted houses. Think back to your freshman year of high school. Perhaps this was the first time you were at a new school, first time you heard about FFA, or your first time trying something new. And as you get more involved in FFA, you might decide you want to try public speaking. As you write your speech, distractions such as sports or other club activities are thrown your way. Or, maybe you procrastinate preparing your speech until the last possible second that your advisor will let you turn it in. 


Despite the challenges that seem to keep jumping in your way, you press on. Suddenly, it’s time to begin practicing your speech. Your nerves build until the day of the speech competition finally arrives. Everyone tells you that you’ll do great, but you start to doubt your abilities. It’s a scary time for you as you prepare to deliver your first-ever speech in front of real judges. 


While you might not win your first speech competition, it’s important to remember that you pushed through the worries, fears and what seemed to be some of the scariest few moments of your high school career. The most frightening times are behind you as you look ahead to more speech competitions in the future. With each one, you can be more prepared than you were the time before. You’re more thankful for taking this step out of your comfort zone, more thankful for the opportunity that you had, the people who supported you, and that you took a chance to open that door in your FFA career, no matter how scary it might have seemed on the other side.


So, how thankful are you for those scary opportunities?

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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:
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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