Missouri FFA and Agriculture Education | Blog
Latest news and reflections by Missouri FFA officers.
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Digging Deep

Republic FFA begins land restoration project

by Jera Pipkin


Just as crops are growing in the field, Republic FFA members are inside the classroom learning what it takes to run a sustainable row crop operation.


An opportunity cropped up when school administrators reached out to the FFA chapter for help.


“Our administrators were looking for a better way to take care of the land in front of our new high school,” said David Mareth, agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at Republic High School. “They came to us for help.”


For years, the FFA chapter had taken hay off of the extra land, Mareth said. However, administrators within the district were looking for more. Yet, if the FFA chapter was going to spend time restoring the land, they wanted it to be self-sustainable and profitable.

With 45 acres of open ground, Republic FFA began by no-tilling wheat into the soil to enhance the landscape surrounding the high school. Mareth explained how the students are working to manage the project and will eventually reap the benefits of what they sow.


Intertwining with the curriculum for Agricultural Science II, instructor and FFA advisor Ciara DeClue has enjoyed interacting with the students and encouraging their growth during the process. The project has sparked interest, and students are eager to learn.


“The kids are really excited,” DeClue said. “I am excited to see what it will grow into and how we will sell our product to farmers.”


DeClue explained how students will learn the process of restoring the land from poor to rich soil. The soil is in undesirable condition because of extensive excavation of the ground from when the high school was built.


From figuring out what to plant and when to plant it, to crop rotations, soil samples, Environmental Protection Agency studies, and waterway research, students are receiving the full experience, Mareth said. With the capability for hands-on learning, the project will continually give back to students in the chapter.


Additionally, they have created a two-year plan, budget, and profit margin analysis for their enterprise. This will give the students the confidence and knowledge to run an enterprise of their own one day, Mareth explained.


Currently, a local alumnus is assisting the chapter in spraying, cultivating, planting and harvesting the crop, Mareth said. The alumnus is donating his machinery and time to the project. Yet, the students’ work still comes in to play, providing the local alumnus with amounts for pesticide and seeds per acre and calculating potential harvest. Relying on producers in the area has allowed them to use resources to get their feet on the ground, he said.


“Having someone running it like it is their own will allow us to continue to plan while meeting the needs of the administration,” Mareth explained. “Any profit we make will go back into the next crop, making this a completely self-sustainable process.”


Looking to the future, the chapter plans to institute a wheat-soybean crop rotation. DeClue said once the soil is restored completely, they will then plant warm season grasses to harvest for a hay crop to sell to local farmers.


“I hope that students will experience a full rotation of crop,” DeClue added. “This will allow students to see the process all the way through.”


On a larger scale, Mareth said, the chapter will eventually purchase equipment. Once established, the chapter will be able to harvest for profit, giving the students a visual of how hard work truly pays off.


Additionally, other areas surrounding the high school will go into supporting the land restoration project and agriculture department. Mareth described future plans for starting a school herd of livestock. Students would then be able to conduct trials on the livestock using hay harvested on the school ground, while also using the manure to fertilize. Plans to establish a rotational grazing program are also on the horizon. That would allow students to see the process full circle and use their knowledge in other areas of crop and grassland management.


“This is only the first step in expanding the presence of our agriculture program on campus,” Mareth said. “Our administrators are excited about what we are doing.”


Mareth said administrators are raving about the results from the land restoration project results thus far. They enjoy that it is relevant, practical and real-world.


“The school is getting everything they wanted done, plus it is providing pride and education back into our agricultural program,” Mareth said.


While both Mareth and DeClue agree that the project hasn’t sunk in with students yet, they know chapter members are learning and growing alongside the crops they have planted. Once the students are able to see something in the field, Mareth and DeClue believe they will really see the process come to life.


“I think this can build excitement for the program because they can see what we are doing for the school and that they have an impact here,” DeClue said.



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Stay Focused

Hannah Viets

Hannah Viets – VP

We are nearing the end of August, and that means it’s back to school time. Starting school can be an amazing, yet scary, time. Some of us might have started sports practice while others of us just wrapped up the 2018 Missouri State Fair.


When I was in high school, this time of the year was always the most hectic for me. I would be wrapping up my showing at the fair while having volleyball practice, and on top of that I would be starting my next adventure in my blue corduroy jacket. So many scheduled tasks at one time challenged me to keep my focus on what I what I wanted my end result to be. 


The National FFA organization was always something that brought new and eventful activities toward the beginning of the school year. This was also the organization that helped me filter my focus and find out what was important for me. From the time I was a freshman and had the opportunity to say the creed for the first time all the way to my senior year when I determined I was going to make that final lasting impact on my chapter, I was focused on my end goal.


No matter who you are or what grade you are going to be in, we need to stay focused on what lies ahead for us. Whether you are involved in competitive events such as Friday night football games or you are simply going to hangout with friends, stay focused on your one goal to achieve success.


Remember what Alex Hirschfeld once said, “The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things.” 



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Exceeding Expectations

Chloe Momphard

Chloe Momphard – 1st VP

Camp Rising Sun, Lake of the Ozarks, Main Street Musical, and forever changing Missouri weather are all things that can be associated with State FFA Camp. These are all common experiences for camp, however, one particular interaction made FFA camp unforgettable for me.


Colton Spencer was State FFA President when I went to camp.  At the time, I was pretty reserved, but wasn’t afraid to be outgoing. Colton told me that to achieve the goals I had set for myself, I had to step out of my comfort zone and grow personally. He also took the time to get to know me and remember my name.  His advice and interactions with me helped set me on the path to becoming the person that I am today.


This year, I had the pleasure of attending weeks three and five of camp. Boy, were my expectations wrong! I thought I would be the one that did the teaching and inspiring; instead I was the one learning and being inspired!


FFA members, you have a passion that burns in you like a fire; carry that into everything that you do! While I know I learned quite a lot at FFA camp, I hope you, FFA members, were able to build stronger leaders out of yourselves and others.  Take all of the tools we identified back to your home and community and use them; don’t let them lie in the toolbox and rust away! We all have our own individual strengths. Yet, that doesn’t mean we can’t collect more from those around us and work together to form a more cooperative and efficient team. We are mighty alone, but incredible together!



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Back to School

Hannah Viets

Hannah Viets – VP

We are nearing the end of August, and that means it’s back to school time. Starting school can be an amazing, yet scary, time. Some of us might have started sports practice while others of us just wrapped up the 2018 Missouri State Fair.

When I was in high school, this time of the year was always the most hectic for me. I would be wrapping up my showing at the fair while having volleyball practice, and on top of that I would be starting my next adventure in my blue corduroy jacket. So many scheduled tasks at one time challenged me to keep my focus on what I what I wanted my end result to be.

The National FFA organization was always something that brought new and eventful activities toward the beginning of the school year. This was also the organization that helped me filter my focus and find out what was important for me. From the time I was a freshman and had the opportunity to say the creed for the first time all the way to my senior year when I determined I was going to make that final lasting impact on my chapter, I was focused on my end goal.

No matter who you are or what grade you are going to be in, we need to stay focused on what lies ahead for us. Whether you are involved in competitive events such as Friday night football games or you are simply going to hangout with friends, stay focused on your one goal to achieve success.

Remember what Alex Hirschfeld once said, “The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things.”



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Lights, Camera, Action

Ryan Siegel

Ryan Siegel – VP

Imagine you are standing on a movie set, and you are the lead role. The director screams out, “Lights, Camera, Action.” You begin saying your lines, and the feeling is surreal! When the scene is over, you let out a sigh of relief, and you feel a little uneasy about it. You don’t think you did your best. You think you could have done better, but the director said that the cut was the best that it was ever going to be and that you gave it your all.


You see, in this scenario the director is your FFA advisor, and the scene is your four years in high school. When you start the scene, the lights are blinding, you are shocked by what you can truly do to succeed. These blinding lights are a lot like your freshman year in FFA; you are shocked by the magnitude of the organization and all the older members are lifting you up, lighting your day with knowledge and wisdom. Helping you one day see the camera or the perception that everyone has of you, in this camera you are a superhero, farmer, friend, or a mentor.


The camera is a lot like your senior year in FFA. Younger members are always watching you, waiting to follow your lead, while others see the impact you are making in this organization and your teachers and advisors notice how much you have grown and succeeded.


Finally, you hear the word action, and you are sitting in your high school auditorium or football field with your cap and gown on. At this moment in time, you realize that it’s time for you to start acting in the next scene. You begin this scene in college, trade school, or on the farm. Yet, with each step that you take throughout this next scene in life, you act to improve the future of agriculture.


When you hear lights, camera, action, what are you going to do to light up someone’s world, change the perception of agriculture, and act to improve and believe in the future of agriculture?



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Be. Believe. Become.

Chloe Momphard

Chloe Momphard – 1st VP

Be. Believe. Become. These simple but impactful words have hung above my bed and served as motivation for the past five years.


I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “Act like the person you want to become.”This is where “be” comes into play. Each of us has to take action in order to be the person we want to bein life. However, it isn’t enough to just act like the person we want to be, we have to “believe” we can achieve it. Positive mental images are critical in achieving goalsbecause what you think is often what you achieve!


While it is always nice to have support from those that we love in our lives, we also have to be confident in ourselves and our abilities. We have to work for the goal and “believe” that we can achieve it. After we “be” and “believe”, it is natural for us to “become” the person we want to be or achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. Be. Believe. Become.


It sounds simple. It’s just three steps to follow. We will always haveobstacles to face; however, we can prepare and limit the obstacles and eliminate the opportunity to react. By preparing, we are on the front end of a goal, guiding the path; when we react, we are behind, chasing the path, trying to play ‘catch-up’.


FFA members, you can use this in your FFA career, school and vocation. Success will not be handed to us! We have to work for it each day. While we may not be able to control everything that happens, we can guide our path by preparing for success and going after it, instead of waiting for it to happen and reacting. Be, Believe, Become and write your own success story!



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Lift To Rise

Regan Ragsdale

Regan Ragsdale – Secretary

“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll


There is nothing more fulfilling in life than when we lift others up through service.


The Missouri State Fair is here – finally! Many describe these booming 10 days in Sedalia, Missouri, as the best times of the year.


So many of you have been working all year with your livestock, watering your plants and crops (despite the drought), and gearing up to make incredible memories with your family and friends. I can’t imagine the amount of pride that must be beaming from your soul – whether you receive a ribbon or not.


Many members have traveled to the fair to exhibit. In addition to many of you who are exhibiting at the state fair, 650 other FFA members signed up for Food Insecurity Day on Tuesday, Aug. 14. Missouri FFA members from across the Show-Me state will pack 100,000 meals to be distributed between the six Food Banks in the Feeding Missouri Network.


The Missouri State Fair, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri Farmers Care, Missouri FFA and many others will work diligently to ensure that countless members could come together to make a huge difference in the lives of those who are food insecure.


Consider this fact: 1 in 5 kids in the state of Missouri is food insecure. Missouri FFA members – you have LIFTED others by having a servant’s heart. I know that if you continue to embrace the last line of our FFA motto, “living to serve,” you will RISE.


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We’re Going to the Fair

Dillon Reinitz

Dillon Reinitz – VP

There is nothing like the thrill of attending the Missouri State Fair! I remember when I was younger, my parents would say, “Dillon, load up. We’re going to the fair.” I immediately ran to the truck and prepared for the long drive to Sedalia. I wasn’t sure if it was the rides or the livestock barns that made me more excited. I remember seeing how excited the exhibitors in the show ring were when they led their animals into the ring. I couldn’t wait until I had the opportunity to be an exhibitor at the Missouri State Fair.


When my FFA advisor asked me my freshman year of high school if I wanted to exhibit at the state fair, I couldn’t help but say yes. I took bacon, peppers, zucchini and many other vegetables to show in the FFA building. Although it was so much fun, I also remember how much work it took to complete the registration as well as prepare my items for competition while preparing for the upcoming school year.


FFA members, what an exciting time for all of us! As we prepare for this year’s Missouri State Fair, we can’t forget to focus on the other upcoming events that await us with the start of a new school year. Good luck to all exhibitors at the fair, and have a great year in FFA!


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The Sweet Sound of Success

Andi Montgomery

Andi Montgomery – VP

Flip, flip, flip go the records as I sort through hundreds of them to find the perfect oldie I had been dreaming about. Pause. I pull the record out slowly, just to find it is warped. Plunk. Back into the file it goes. Flip, flip, flip. Time seems to continue forever, until finally I find it.

You might be wondering what a tedious day of record hunting could do with FFA.

To get the best quality of sound from a record, you must do a few certain steps, kind of like FFA.

First, you must take the beauty out of the cover, check for scratches and place it on the turn table.

In FFA, this looks like learning your skills and checking for obstacles.

Preparations might look like early contest team practices, or planning activities for chapter members.

Then, you must take the needle off the rest and gently place it on the outside of the disc.

Take action, and carefully keep track of your recordsso that you can get the most out of what you are producing. I know SAE’s can be hard to keep track of in the summer, but I promise if you diligently stick to it, it will pay off.

Finally, it’s time to select the right speed.

Find your tempo. This could look different for every FFA member — slow and steady or jumping in to get your feet wet in brand new ideas and activities. It is important to find the right pace for you, so that you will not get burned out or bored.

FFA members, as events keep flipping by, my challenge to you is to work on these steps, so you might hear the sweet sounds of success in your future!


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Skills to Last a Lifetime

Alumni Spotlight: Catching up with Doug Kueker

By Alison Bos-Lovins

Doug Kueker, Missouri FFA Alumnus

What has FFA taught you?


For alumnus Doug Kueker, his time in the National FFA Organization provided him with life lessons, skills and opportunities he uses every day in his career.


“My experience in the classroom, laboratory and through FFA helped me develop the skills and character traits everyone needs to be successful – communication, being a team player, positively influencing others, time management, responsibility and more,” Kueker said.


Kueker grew up on a small cow-calf and row crop farm in Sweet Springs, Missouri. He was very active in his FFA chapter, served as Missouri FFA President and was later selected as a National FFA Officer.


Serving as a state and national officer taught Kueker to respect the value of diversity and to seek to understand differences before jumping to conclusions. He was beyond honored to be selected by his peers to represent other FFA members at the state and national levels.


“Both of these humbling experiences broadened my perspective about the diversity of the agriculture, food, and natural resource industry in Missouri, as well as across the U.S.,” he explained.


Kueker’s journey as a state and national officer led him to experiences that he will never forget. His favorite experience as a state officer was traveling the state to Greenhand leadership conferences with his fellow state officers. He enjoyed working with young FFA members and helping them set goals for their career and leadership development. Kueker recalls hearing progress from students he worked with a few years later, which he said was a very rewarding feeling.


His experience as a national officer was also an inspiring venture for Kueker. He was humbled to represent members on a national level and see the passion members had for FFA.


“Traveling to different chapters across the state of South Dakota during FFA Week was one of my favorite experiences as a national officer,” Kueker explained. “Experiencing the enthusiasm FFA members have for the organization and for the future of agriculture firsthand was inspiring.”


Kueker admits that being a state and national officer was hard work. It required passion and drive. He explained that to earn the right to represent other FFA members in this capacity, one should be prepared to spend time investing in building the knowledge and skills it takes to lead effectively.


“Take time to reflect on what you have gained from FFA and why you feel it is important to encourage other FFA members to pursue their own development through the organization,” he said.


In addition to his FFA honors, Kueker received his agricultural education degree from the University of Missouri. After graduation, he worked for the National FFA Organization, where he created curriculum for national student conferences such as the Washington Leadership Conference. Additionally, he generated curriculum for professional development experiences for agricultural teachers. Kueker obtained a master’s degree in education from Purdue University and recently completed his PhD in Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri.


Through his accomplishments, Kueker credits the FFA organization for shaping his future. Plus, he said FFA taught him that hard work and perseverance pay off.


“FFA helped me set goals and explore and discover my passions and talents,” Kueker said.


He has a passion for learning new things and developing others. An entrepreneur, Kueker took his passion and turned it into a successful business. His company, Vivayic, designs effective learning programs and educational materials that equip individuals with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to be successful. It offers services such as learning strategy and analysis; curriculum and program design; education program evaluation; and e-learning and content delivery.


“Simply put, my company Vivayic helps build others’ capacity to do good in the world,” Kueker said. “A majority of our work is with organizations who are striving to ensure a safe and sustainable food supply to feed the world, as well as groups and organizations who are working to make the K-16 education system more relevant and effective.”


Kueker continues to support the FFA organization today. He volunteers to help Missouri FFA organize and conduct national officer candidate interviews each year. He also works with FFA members at HYMAX academy and with area officers at the Area Officer Institute at Camp Rising Sun each summer. Plus, he and his wife, Emily, enjoy working with members of local chapters to help them prepare for contests and other FFA events.


Kueker advises FFA members to step outside their comfort zones. He encourages members to do that contest they do not think they can do. Additionally, he said FFA members should sign up to be on a committee to organize a chapter FFA event. He also charges members to interact with others at conventions or camps and bring back new ideas to their chapter.


“You’ll never know how much you are capable of until you step out of your comfort zone,” Kueker said.

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They Make a Difference

Ag Teachers share passion for the industry — and their students

By Alison Bos-Lovins

Looking for a career in agriculture where you can make a difference in the lives of others? As the industry faces a national shortage of agricultural educators, those in the field share why they teach ag and why they want to see students succeed.


Agricultural education teachers share a common passion — to teach students about the importance of agriculture and see their students succeed.


Even though some instructors have years of experience and others are just starting their careers, agricultural educators understand their importance. They embrace the reality of a nationwide shortage of agricultural educators and know that more people need to consider agricultural education as a career.


Jarred Sayre, agricultural education instructor at Milan High School, has been teaching for 22 years. Sayre wants to instill hard work, dedication, and a passion for agriculture in his students.


“Agriculture education is so important because as a society we are growing further away from the farm,” Sayre said. “We live in a society that does not understand where our food comes from, the steps it takes to get it to the store, and the hard work put in by all facets of agriculture.”


Seeing his students succeed is one of the most rewarding aspects of Sayre’s job.


Another veteran teacher, Jason Dieckhoff, has been teaching at the Cass Career Center in Harrisonville for 15 years. He also hopes to instill the importance of agriculture in his students and teach skills needed in today’s workforce. Dieckhoff helps develop youth into productive and active participants in the future of the industry by implementing a well-balanced program for students to receive the full agricultural education experience.


“We need agriculture education so the future in our industry not only has the necessary set of skills and knowledge but also has the same set of core beliefs — a faith in the future of agriculture born not of words but of deeds,” he said.


Despite the pleasure both Sayre and Dieckhoff find in working with students, being an agricultural education instructor often is challenging. According to Sayre, one the biggest hurdles of his job is working with students who are not as motivated by success. Dieckhoff has found that the most challenging part of his job is adapting his teaching methods to fit interests of students today.


“Young teachers can relate better to high school students and are used to the technology and social media current students are using, “Dieckhoff said.


Emily Reed, an agriculture education instructor at Saline County Career Center, and Rylyn Small, who teaches agriculture at East Prairie High School, are early in their agricultural education careers. Their advisors and their FFA experiences helped aid in their decision to become agriculture teachers.


“My goal as a teacher is to allow all students to feel and find their place in the agriculture classroom,” Small said. “I have a passion for student success.”


Reed and Small know agriculture education is important and needed. They hope to instill a passion for agriculture and teach students how to be informed.


“With the world population continuing to climb, it is very important to have people who are ready to educate those who may not understand agricultural topics,” Reed explained.


Despite the importance of agricultural education, the nationwide shortage has teachers concerned. Dieckhoff, Sayre, Small, and Reed know the extensive hours, demands, stress, and salary compared to other agricultural jobs are factors that likely affect the shortage.


“We put in several hours above and beyond what is required of us,” Sayre stated.


Dieckhoff said, “To teach today, you truly have to possess a passion for youth. If you do not, you will not last long or be very happy.”


According to Reed, she knows how some teachers can suffer from burnout. Plus, there are more teachers retiring than young professionals graduating with degrees to fill positions.


Small encourages FFA members to consider a career in the field as he said it is one of the most rewarding jobs to have. Plus, he knows agricultural education is a necessity.


“We need FFA members that have a passion for the industry, FFA and students,” Small explained. “Be prepared to stress, have late nights and early mornings and sometimes no sleep. But also be prepared to impact students and watch students grow into strong leaders in the agriculture industry.”


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Most American Holiday

McKenzie Loftis

McKenzie Loftis – VP

At FFA Camp there weren’t any fireworks exploding on the 4th of July. Still, I saw plenty of members explode into leadership. It looked different for each individual. One young lady decided she is going to audition for National FFA Chorus. She sure can make you feel America the Beautiful deep in your soul! At the same time she was working towards that goal, other kids were learning what it takes to be a servant leader in their chapter. Others were learning about careers in agriculture, too. Each and every one of these members are headed for a long road to meeting their goals. The unique goals they have set for themselves fit their personality and skill set. We each have a place we belong in this organization and the world. If we can key in on our personal path to success we will begin to see others that are walking alongside us. The partnerships we discover on these paths will last so much longer than forced friendships or “small talk” conversations. As you lead in your respective areas, keep pressing forward along side each other. Pursue your dreams whole-heartedly. Explode forward into your role of leadership.


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Do Your Best Today

Regan Ragsdale, Secretary 2018-19

Regan Ragsdale – Secretary

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Sometimes it is hard to be our best – especially in the summer time.


It is easy to fall in love with the lull of summer. Easy to sleep in, stay up late, have days on the couch or by the pool, indulge in an insane amount of popsicles and watch the days go by. There is nothing wrong with days like this. In fact, I’m not sure I could survive without these kinds of days. However, these are few and far between if I want the be the best that I can possibly be.


Missouri FFA members – you can be your absolute best this summer. Many of you have traveled to FFA Camp at Camp Rising Sun with your goal to become a better leader. Washington Leadership Conference, in our nation’s capital, has stolen hundreds of FFA member’s servant hearts. In preparation for the Missouri State Fair, members are growing cucumbers, cattle and cacti from all parts of the state.


The success from these opportunities will come by giving your all and being YOUR best. If you choose not to waste a single second of the 86,400 seconds in each day, then you will be your absolute best.


I challenge you to give your all every day this summer and be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.

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Ends Are Just The Beginning

Adriene Aubuchon, VP 2018-19

Adriene Aubuchon – VP

This time of the year seems it seems like everything is coming to an end. Convention, banquets and contest season have all been winding down, and it’s easy to be swept up into the lull of doing nothing. If you’re a freshman, you’re just completing your first year in FFA, and if you’re a senior, you’re wrapping up four amazing years in an organization that’s likely brought many memorable moments.

Have you ever heard the saying “When one door closes, another one opens”? This perfectly sums up these four years you’ve spent in FFA. This chapter might be closing, but something new is on the horizon. Change is good. We will carry the friendships, memories and life lessons with us throughout our whole lives. You might be hanging up the blue jacket, but you will never be done with FFA because it changes your life. And when something impacts you this much, it sticks with you forever.

Just because school is out and summer vacation is here doesn’t mean that we have to stop being involved in FFA for a few months. Camp, Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence (HYPE) Academy, Helping Youth Maximize their Agricultural eXperience (HYMAX) and county and state fairs are adventures full of memories just waiting for us.

Ends are just the beginning of new opportunities. Enjoy the ride.

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Enjoy Your Present

Madison Bader, VP 2018-19

Madison Bader – VP

One of my favorite times of the year is spring. While it is probably the busiest time, with planting, conventions, contests and end-of-the-school-year events, it is full of so much energy and happiness.

At the same time, it can be stressful. You want to be done with school and be outside, but you are stuck doing tasks that seem boring and tedious. I assure you, I am the same way. By the time it gets warm outside with the flowers growing and the sun shining, I would rather be outside and soaking up the rays than doing paperwork.


Looking back, I wish I spent more time focusing on everything I did in FFA instead of wishing I was doing something else. Dont get me wrong; I loved planning and putting together banquets and studying for career development events, I just wished I spent more time living in the moment rather than taking for granted my time in this organization.

I would do anything to have another year in my home chapter with my friends I have been with since grade school, but God has bigger plans for me. In order to accomplish those plans, we all have to move out of our comfort zones and into the world for which FFA has prepared us.


So to all of you wishing this year was over and it was summer vacation, take a deep breath and know these times go more quickly than you think. Someday you will miss filling out those applications and doing those tedious tasks. We all have big things in store for us, but we always need to appreciate and acknowledge what got us there in the first place.

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