Andi Montgomery

Andi Montgomery – VP

Back in October, I embarked on a journey that will always have a place in my heart. I met the sweetest people, tried the most interesting food and gained some incredible experiences. This trip was an exchange program provided by Missouri State University to Taiwan’s NCHU. During my eight-day journey I hiked mountains, made my own tea, met local farmers and explored many of the vast agricultural industries on the small island. On the last day, we went to a world flower exposition. As we were looking around, I stumbled across a tent where the sign read, DIY Grass Animals. Instantly, we were sucked in by smiling faces and warm gestures, greeting us in a language we did not understand. Our task looked simple; all we had to do was weave this dried grass into a deer (which stands for good luck). Right? What happenned was a table of laughter as we watched our group leader show us the next step, and as we repeated what we thoughthe did (not always what he had done). The laughter showed the connection we had with simple actions, not words. Together we were happy because we were learning and trying.


Join me in being adaptive to new ideas and projects, from a new career development event or even a little line dancing. When something enjoyable comes your way, why not try it? Anything is made possible with a little action and a positive attitude, even learning how to eat every meal with chopsticks. People are willing to help see you through, so take that journey.

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5 Reasons to Get Involved with Missouri FFA Alumni

1 – Discover New Opportunities

For alumni members, opportunities span from helping charter new chapters to selecting scholarship recipients. The more you get involved, the more you figure out what you want to be involved in, and what you can take back to your local chapter.


2 – Join a Network

We all have the same common goal and a lot of value is behind that. The more we grow, the more we can do for you and your local FFA chapter.


3 – Lead Outside the Office

You can run for national council offices from the state to the national level, so it’s a leadership component as well. Why not take a stand to represent your portion of the state?


4 – Make a Real Difference

It’s the feeling that you’re helping the FFA and being a difference in someone’s life. Whether it’s time or money you contribute, every minute or dollar is going toward preparing youth with leadership and career skills.


5 – Return the Favor

As you get older, you realize people helped you along the way and you learned from what they taught you. If you grew up in FFA, you know that to be even more true. Do the same for the next generation.


—by Alexa Nordwald.

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Listen Up, And Learn

Missouri FFA has had a rich history with the American Star Awards program, with winners in the Star Farmer category dating all the way back to 1932. FFA members with exceptional supervised agricultural experiences (SAE) are eligible to receive the Star Farmer, Star in Agribusiness, Star in Placement or Star in Agriscience awards during the National FFA Convention and Expo each year. Winners from the state competition advance to compete nationally among other elite FFA members from across the nation.


Missouri FFA Todayrecently caught up Scott Hill and Derek Lowrey, both past recipients of American FFA Star awards, recognizing the success of their supervised agricultural experiences (SAE). For Hill and Lowrey, much of that success during their FFA careers can be attributed to perseverance, hard work and dedication. Read on to learn more about their award-winning projects.



A former member of the Miller FFA Chapter, Scott Hill received the American Star Farmer award in 2005. Hill originally began his SAE project with just a couple steers, which he soon sold and took up riding and breaking colts. Over his high school career, he expanded his diversified project to include nearly 40 horses, more than 100 head of cow-calf pairs and 200 head of roping steers.

Hill developed the project mostly on his own. Growing up, Hill’s family didn’t have a big farm, but he had other plans. He set a goal to have a large farming operation, however he didn’t have the means of beginning without financial assistance from the bank.

“From that point on, I figured I was young and if I was going to go broke, I would be better off going broke as a young kid,” Hill said. “I wanted to take the risk while I was still young enough to put in the long hours, work hard and try to make it work.”

Hill’s project became successful, bound by daily hard work and determination. The uniqueness of such a diversified SAE is what made Hill stand out in the national competition.

Hill remembers being told to never be afraid to take risk, and he advises FFA members to do the same.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it,” he says. “Just because somebody doesn’t think it’s going to work, don’t let that dictate whether you try it or not. I strongly believe anybody can make something successful if you are willing to put in the time and effort.”

Today, Hill runs 700 momma cows, backgrounds calves and recently opened a feed store in Mount Vernon. He credits a lot of his success today to the lessons he learned during FFA.

“Growing up, I took some risks, lost some money, made some money and won several awards, but that risk and the goals I had trying to win those awards has helped me to keep setting goals and taking risks throughout life,” Hill said. “That’s helped me get to where I am at today.”



Derek Lowrey had a completely different kind of SAE project, which led him to receive the 2008 American Star in Placement award. Lowrey, a former member of the Trenton FFA Chapter, worked on a neighbor’s dairy farm, just five miles from where he grew up. He began working on the dairy his freshman year, doing odds and ends. Lowrey eventually started working full-time on the farm as he became more familiar with the operation.

“I was there a long time and treated it like it was my own operation,” Lowrey said. “I took a lot of pride in what I did.”

Aside from working on the dairy, Lowrey farmed with his dad in high school. He started renting a few acres his junior year to expand his own row crop operation, along with backgrounding beef cattle, which is what he continues to do today.

“Today, I’m pretty blessed,” Lowrey said. “I farm with my dad and my younger brother. [After college] everything just clicked. We were able to rent enough farm ground that I was able to basically farm full time.”

Lowrey’s success with a placement SAE project is due to his willingness to learn and a patient attitude. He advises FFA students to be open minded and focus on what is best for their particular project.

“You’ve got to worry about what works for you and your operation,” Lowrey said. “You’ve always got to be listening. You’ve always got to be learning.”


adapted from an article written by Alexa Nordwald for Missouri FFA Today.

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What’s Your Plan of Action?

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer – President

We see it every year. As a new year begins — the gyms are full, people begin eating healthier and we all set goals for ourselves to live a healthier lifestyle. While we all have differing methods of self-improvement, one commonality exists among us: we are setting goals.


As FFA members, we have the opportunity to do the same thing. We are presented with countless opportunities to develop skills that push us to be successful not only in FFA, but also in the workforce. When we take advantage of these opportunities, we build a skillset that sets us apart from others.


As we pursue these opportunities, we are faced with challenges. Our applications won’t always get accepted, we might not win with our career development and leadership development events, and we might not feel fit for the challenge. However, if we set goals, we can overcome these obstacles and rise to the top.


Our goals should outline what we want to accomplish so that we can establish a plan of action. You see, our goals are only useful if we actually put them into action. Throughout my own FFA career, I had the chance to set a few goals that pushed me to be a better version of myself. For example, I set a goal with my livestock judging team to win the livestock evaluation career development event at state convention. It was because of that goal that I learned the value of hard work and had the chance to experience what teamwork is about.


If you take the time to set goals and strive for greatness, you can and will be the best version of yourself. It won’t be easy. You will have times when you feel like quitting, but by pushing yourself to keep working, you can accomplish your goals and reach your full potential.

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Create Our Own Happiness

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer – President

“It is important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy” -Paula Cole


Go to class, take notes, do your homework and repeat. As the spring semester begins, it can be easy to find ourselves in this cycle. Although academic success is a rigorous process, we tend to forget to find the glory in each day leading us to lack satisfaction. Think about it. When was the last time you paused, took a breath, and simply enjoyed the moment in which you were living?


As 2019 started, I made the resolution to begin searching for the moments that make me happy each day and to embrace these moments. Luckily for me, the new year also brought Greenhand Motivational Conferences. There is something truly remarkable about first-year students forming relationships with other students from their respective areas. As we learned about opportunities within FFA, these members were laughing, dancing and having a blast! These members could have just spent the day keeping to themselves and not stepping outside of the box, but instead they were focusing on the details and creating a positive environment for themselves. They were embracing the moment and crafting their own happiness.


These Greenhand members taught me an important lesson. They showed me that in order to make the most out of each day, I need to be able to live in the moment and appreciate what each moment has to offer.


FFA members, throughout our FFA careers we have the chance to participate in activities that will mold us into successful adults. These events are wonderful, but sometimes we fail to embrace the moment and make the most of it. As we start the next semester, join me in embracing the beauty in everyday life and creating our own happiness.

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Facing Obstacles

Adriene Aubuchon

Adriene Aubuchon – VP

It was Jan. 12, 2019, and a giant snowstorm had covered almost the entire state of Missouri, shutting down most roads. We had just wrapped up 2019 Greenhand Motivational Conferences, and our state officer team was coming back from St. Joseph, Missouri when we became snowed in, bound for a hotel in Jefferson City, Missouri. We had been living out of suitcases for a whole week, sleeping in a different hotel every night, and meeting some amazing members in the northern part of the state. We were all so anxious to get home to our families and catch up on some sleep, but that wouldn’t be the case as we sought shelter in our state’s capital city for two days.


You see, that’s the funny thing about snowstorms or obstacles in your life — they come exactly when you need them without you knowing it. Just like this snowstorm had shut down our plans for going home, there will be times when obstacles will hinder what you are trying to accomplish. Instead of being upset, take a step back and try to find the positives of the situation. You see, in those two days my fellow officers and I didn’t let the snowstorm stop us from having fun. We were in awe of the beauty and the stillness the snow had brought us after a week of living out of our suitcases. The snowstorm brought us closer and allowed us to make some great memories.


FFA members, in those challenging times when it seems like you will never overcome the challenges, take a step back, take a new approach, have some positives thoughts, wait for the snow to melt, and then face that challenge head-on and overcome it.

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Snowed In

Quentin Carlyle

Quentin Carlyle – VP

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2019 marked the start of the state FFA officer’s tour around the state to put on Greenhand Motivational Conferences.  After a week of many new hotel rooms, fun workshops, wacky skits and amazing new FFA members, Friday brought the last conference for my team.


Even after such an awesome week, my teammates and I were all ready to be back home and sleep in our own beds.  As we traveled from St. Joseph to Jefferson City, we realized that this dream would be put on hold for another couple of nights due to 15 inches of snow forecasted to fall over the weekend.


As we unloaded our bags into the two hotel rooms we would be stuck in for the rest of the weekend, we had a decision to make.  The two days that followed were not going to be spent the way that we had planned them to be.  We could pout over the outcome and spend the weekend miserable, or we could make the most of the situation and do our best to enjoy ourselves.


We chose the second option and spent the two nights playing games, having fun and enjoying each other’s company. Our relationships were strengthened over the weekend.


In the same way that my team had a choice, we all have the same choice each day. Frequently in life, our master plan is not followed. It is up to us to not be disheartened and give up, but instead to make the most of unexpected situations, adapt and press on.


2019 has a lot to offer. This is a chance to start a new year, step out of your comfort zone, meet new people, experience new things, change the world around you for the better and so much more. This organization that we all hold near to our hearts is the perfect place to do it. Whether you want to try a new Career Development Event, go to the Missouri FFA State Convention or even interview for a chapter office – this is the time!


Go ahead. Make new friends out of your circle, travel somewhere new, try the vegetable you’ve always disliked, fiercely fight for something you believe in, have faith in God’s plan, but above all, don’t be afraid to fall. Remember, if you’re making a mistake at least you’re doing something. Here’s to 2019!

With that being said, as you go through life, make sure to acknowledge those around you who listen and care about you. You are capable of spreading news and information in more than just your blue jacket. People around you are willing to support you and help you through your journey, and at the end of the day, it is the smaller moments that mean the most and might just turn out to build a lifelong bond.

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Do Something

Regan Ragsdale

Regan Ragsdale – Secretary

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” – Neil Gaiman


Whew. That was fast. 2018 went by in the wink of an eye.


The ball has dropped, the air is crisp and the promise of a new-year resolution is upon us. It is exciting to think about what the new-year holds – but how can we make sure that it lives up to our expectations of excellence?


Mistakes. Oh, so many mistakes. As Gaiman said, when you make mistakes that means you are doing something! Now, I’m not writing to tell you that you should make mistakes; I’m here to say that it is okay to make mistakes.


2019 has a lot to offer. This is a chance to start a new year, step out of your comfort zone, meet new people, experience new things, change the world around you for the better and so much more. This organization that we all hold near to our hearts is the perfect place to do it. Whether you want to try a new Career Development Event, go to the Missouri FFA State Convention or even interview for a chapter office – this is the time!


Go ahead. Make new friends out of your circle, travel somewhere new, try the vegetable you’ve always disliked, fiercely fight for something you believe in, have faith in God’s plan, but above all, don’t be afraid to fall. Remember, if you’re making a mistake at least you’re doing something. Here’s to 2019!

With that being said, as you go through life, make sure to acknowledge those around you who listen and care about you. You are capable of spreading news and information in more than just your blue jacket. People around you are willing to support you and help you through your journey, and at the end of the day, it is the smaller moments that mean the most and might just turn out to build a lifelong bond.

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2019 Greenhand Motivational Conferences

JAN. 7: 9 a.m., Area 8 – Lincoln University, Jefferson City
JAN. 8: 8:30 a.m., Area 14 –  Sullivan High School, Sullivan
JAN. 8: 9 a.m., Area 4 –  University of Missouri, Columbia
JAN. 8: 9 a.m., Area 6 –  State Fair Community College, Sedalia
JAN. 8: 12 p.m., Area 7 –  State Fair Community College, Sedalia
JAN. 8: 2 p.m., Area 13 –  Waynesville
JAN. 8: 4 p.m., Area 5 –  Bowling Green
JAN. 9: 9:30 a.m., Area 3 –  Truman State University, Kirksville
JAN. 9: 9 a.m., Area 10 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 9: 12 p.m., Area 9 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 9: 2:30 a.m., Area 16 –  Three Rivers Community College, Poplar Bluff
JAN. 10: 8 a.m., Area 2 –  North Central Missouri College, Trenton
JAN. 10: 8:30 a.m., Area 13 –  Missouri State University, West Plains
JAN. 10: 8:30 a.m., Area 15 –  Southeast Mo. State University, Cape Girardeau
JAN. 10: 9 a.m., Area 12 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 10: 11:30 a.m., Area 2 –  North Central Missouri College, Trenton
JAN. 10: 12 p.m., Area 11 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 11: 8:30 a.m., Area 1 –  Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph

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Spreading the News Over Coffee

Madison Bader - VP

Madison Bader – VP

For me, Saturday mornings mean early shifts at my local coffee shop. I would get there before the sun rose, turn on all the lights, and start the day’s first pot of coffee. No sooner than I would unlock the door, my first customer would be there. That customer is a man by the name of Dave.


Dave would come in, leaf through the morning paper that I had laid at his favorite chair, and then make his way back into the kitchen where a small cup of coffee would be sitting there waiting for him. As he laid his money on the counter, we would talk. No topic was too big or too small to discuss in those early morning moments. One of my favorite topics to discuss with him was FFA. I would talk to Dave about where I had been travelling and what I had been doing with FFA, and he would ask different questions and listen.


You see, Dave had never known anything about the FFA before he met me, just a girl working at the coffee shop that he went to every morning. However, since Dave cared about me, he was willing to listen and hear about what the FFA does and the impact it can have on the lives of others.


With that being said, as you go through life, make sure to acknowledge those around you who listen and care about you. You are capable of spreading news and information in more than just your blue jacket. People around you are willing to support you and help you through your journey, and at the end of the day, it is the smaller moments that mean the most and might just turn out to build a lifelong bond.

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Tradition is the Glue

Dillon Reinitz

Dillon Reinitz – VP

There is nothing better than sitting around the Christmas tree with family and a steamy cup of hot chocolate. For me, some of the most memorable moments in my family have happened sitting around the tree. It was tradition for my brother and I to wake up as early as possible, run into my parents’ room and wake them up so that we could see what Santa had brought. Then with our Christmas pajamas on and new toys in hand, we would travel to my grandma’s house for a great Christmas morning breakfast. Tradition is the glue that holds my family together during the holiday season.


Glue: An adhesive substance used for sticking objects or materials together (Webster, 2018). It’s hard to imagine that a tradition can serve as glue, but when it comes to doing something as a family; traditions serve as the adhesive that sticks us together. Just as our families have traditions so does FFA, whether it be reciting the creed as freshman, wearing an FFA stole at graduation as seniors, or wearing official dress traditions hold us together as an organization.


I encourage you to continue to respect traditions this holiday season. Keep applying that adhesive that hold us and our loved ones together. As you know it’s the traditions that bring us together this holiday season. It’s tradition that keeps our amazing organization moving in a positive direction, and it is traditions that will shape you into the person you want to be. So, grab a cup of hot chocolate sit around the Christmas tree and have a happy holiday season while you participate in your favorite holiday traditions!

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Farm Boy Leadership

Missouri Deputy Director of Agriculture Garrett Hawkins is a small-town farm boy rooted in FFA.


PastMissouri FFA member Garrett Hawkins is a small-town Missouri boy who likes to run, hunt and work on the farm. Sound familiar?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–by Alexa Nordwald

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Stand Out SAE’s

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

We caught up with some of the 2018 national finalists. How did those members establish and grow their SAE projects to reach top honors? Read on as they explain how they built and managed their award-winning SAE projects.



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

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

“Once people have seen the goats that I show and sell, it has made it easier to market them,” he said.

Tade explained the importance of keeping records to track progress, setting goals and working hard to achieve those goals to build a successful SAE. In addition, he said it is key to listen and learn from other people who are knowledgeable in their SAE area.

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Box’s customers have helped her business blossom. A Facebook page helps with advertising needs. She has followers not only from the Neosho area, but also from Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

“I would not be where I am right now without my family, agriculture teachers, friends and my towns support,” Box explained.

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

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


–by Alison Bos-Lovins

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Buy Presents or Be Present?

Regan Ragsdale

Regan Ragsdale – Secretary

“Maybe Christmas, he thought doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” – Dr. Seuss, The Grinch

Oh, Christmas time. By far my favorite time of the year. When December rolls around it means the ending of school, the beginning of a beautifully long break and time with the people I love most.

Buying presentsis always on my to-do list during Christmas. I want to buy something special for the people who love me unconditionally no matter the season. Presents are wonderful and can show people that you care, but instead of buying presents, being present will take you much farther. Being present could mean anything from not having my phone at the dinner table to staying up late with my little brothers making ginger bread houses. How will you be present?

Making treatsis a tradition in our household during the holidays. For as far back as I can remember I have loved sitting at the kitchen counter with my family decorating sugar cookies, putting chocolate on the Christmas candy and making peppermint hot chocolate to indulge in while watching my favorite movie, Elf. However, it is not the making treats that I remember most. It’s the making memories. Christmas time is so special to me because I associate it with vivid memories and moments in time. This year, how will you make memories?

Seeing the lights– there is nothing I love more. Every year when we go to my Grandma’s house we go to Carthage, Missouri, to see the huge display of Christmas lights. Even when we are home, my family will hop in the car and drive around Paris looking at all the decorated houses. This year, instead of just seeing the lights, let’s try and be the light. Be the light in someone’s life by giving them a warm hug or basket of cookies. Be the light in someone’s life by donating to them food or clothes. This is the season of giving. How can you be the light?

Don’t be afraid to embrace the things that are truly most important this holiday season.

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FFAmily Tree

Ryan Siegel

Ryan Siegel – VP

Our last name is something that is so special to us; it is something that has been carried on for generations and generations. Our last name is also the focus of our FFA jackets, bringing pride, respect and honor to our families. When we think about our ancestry, we immediately think back as far as we can remember. Since I’m a genealogy nerd, I can tell you exactly where my fifth great-grandpa was born, when my family migrated from Europe and even a percentage breakdown of my DNA. However, with all these different family trees and last names that makes up who I am and who we are, one thing reigns true — the significance of our last names. The names might have been worn on the uniforms of our grandparents when they fought in a war, or by our parents who are farmers, business owners, doctors, or lawyers, and now by us on our FFA jackets. To you a last name has always been there, it’s just a few letters put together, but to those before you that last name was everything. It’s what defined your family, gave you the opportunities you have today and pushed you to success. It’s also what you bare over your chest in your FFA jacket.

Though we all have different last names, we all have one common thing on our jackets: the FFA emblem. This FFA emblem is like our last name. It is what connects, what bring us together and what signifies our FFAmily. So, do everything in your power to bring honor and pride to your last name and the FFA emblem because those before you did just that.

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