Missouri FFA and Agriculture Education | 2019-20 Officers
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2019-20 Officers

Keep Your End Goal In Sight

Jacob Knaebel - VP

Jacob Knaebel – VP

My feet are freezing. I can’t feel my hands. I am starving, tired, and all I want to do is go back to the cabin and sleep this opening morning of deer season. I know if I give up now my chances of getting a deer are slim, yet the complaints in my mind slowly win me over, and I decide to climb out of my deer stand. As I reach the bottom of the ladder, I turn around in time to see a buck lurking just in the edge of the woods dart across the field and out of sight. Now I’m cold, hungry, tired and mad I didn’t wait five more minutes.

 

Much like hunting, during our time in FFA we are going to set many goals for ourselves such as winning a CDE or getting a chapter office. However, sometimes we don’t realize the amount of work and endurance that will be required of us to achieve our goals, and we give up because it is the easier option. But if we don’t see the task of achieving our goals through to completion, then we will never be able to reap the benefits.

 

That day in the woods, I lost sight of what my goal was and only focused on the reasons why I should give up, and because of that I didn’t achieve my goal. This year we all need to remember to keep our end goal in sight and build up our mental endurance to overcome all obstacles that might hold us back.

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Our Future Outlook

Kaylee Lewis - VP

Kaylee Lewis – VP

FFA members, our future is before us. But what does that future hold? In the future, we could be wearing scrubs, a business suit, chaps or a number of other outfits. However, one outfit in particular that rests in my mind as important is overalls. You might be wondering why that is. I see overalls as hard work.

 

Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Through this statement, Thomas Edison is suggesting that we are all given the same opportunities and each of us have what we feel is a support system, which has laid the groundwork for our foundation, in turn making us strong and resilient; stitching us into the overall individuals we are today. With that, we have a choice—work hard or get passed by.

 

In a world of deep divide, whether you are talking politics, race, religion, culture or movements – I believe we are all missing a great point. We are all human beings that put our overalls on one leg at a time. No one story is better or more important than another. What separates us is the slight edge and the small steps we take each day to move forward. You see, any one of us has the opportunity to start a movement, but not everyone is willing to put in the work. We can talk about things, ideas and differences, but the question still remains: what are we going to do? We can continue to rant and rage, or we can become educated, agree to disagree, find common ground with others, and ultimately, put the work in to make opportunities turn into success stories. So, let’s not rest on our laurels. Let’s hike up our overalls and get to work.

 

In the end, we need to remember that the only place where results come before work is in the dictionary. Today’s world is competitive. Everyone here wants to be successful in life. The way to make it happen is to put in the work just like Thomas Edison suggests. It is a funny thing, the harder I work, the luckier I get. We can apply this concept to any FFA CDE, LDE, classroom activity, or just plain old life in general. Overalls may or may not be our current fashion choice, but none of us will ever outgrow their meaning!

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Start With The End In Mind

Alexis Wilkinson - VP

Alexis Wilkinson – VP

I parked my car, stepped out and walked to the beginning of what would be one of my favorite adventures I have ever encountered. I was standing in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in the Great Smoky Mountains with the head of a two-mile trail in front of me. A trip to the mountains would not be complete without a pleasant hike through the scenery. I was excited to take on this new adventure to the top of a mountain with a beautiful waterfall. Of course, two miles doesn’t sound like a lot, until you start the trek upward going over wet, rocky terrain with steep inclines on the side that would make you quiver just looking down. I was absolutely exhausted and had no idea how much further laid between me and my destination.

 

As time went on, with each step I took, I started to regret my decision to take on such a long hike. However, I couldn’t turn back now. If I turned back, I would forever wonder what it was like to be at the top of that mountain at that waterfall.

 

After what felt like hours, I finally pushed myself to reach the top. I could look out and see for what seemed like miles and miles of mountains and trees. The waterfall flowed down the side of the mountain and crashed at the bottom. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was in that moment, I realized that the long hike was worth it…and that I needed to hit the gym before my next hike!

 

Sometimes in life, it might seem like you just keep hiking, not knowing when you’ll reach your destination, whatever that may be. You might want to just give up but giving up means turning around and walking right back down that mountain, losing all of the progress you have made. Life gets tough at times, but you have to just remind yourself why you started. Think about your end destination. One of my college professors always says, “Start with the end in mind.” On your journey, when times get tough, think about where you are going and how great it is going to be when you get there. As soon as you get there, all of the hard work you put in will pay off. Just keep pushing yourself, and hike that mountain!

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Tell Your Story

Andrew Moore - VP

Andrew Moore – VP

The day after the Area III LDE contest I was visiting with a school counselor when she asked, “How did your contest go?” I responded by telling her how well it went, that I had performed my best and that overall the contest was a success. Still, I knew she wanted me to spill the beans about how I placed.

 

After a bit of small talk, she finally asked, “So how did you place?” I reluctantly answered, “Well, I did pretty good. I got first place.” She of course was cheerful, but questioned why I hadn’t told her that in the beginning. I didn’t want to sound like I was bragging.  As simple as it might be, she then asked me a question I will never forget: “Andrew, if you don’t toot your own horn, who will?”

 

I recognize the importance of humility, but this got me thinking. If we don’t tell the story of our life, either no one will, or someone will tell it the wrong way. Furthermore, the same could be said about our agricultural story. Our farm story, is just that, ourstory! We have to be the ones telling it.

 

As FFA members, we must choose to tell the story of agriculture. Whether it be posting a selfie with our livestock, teaching someone how to plant a garden, or teaching third graders how their food is produced, tell your story! Tell agriculture’s story. If you don’t toot your own horn about your passion for this way of life, who will?

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Being Content in the Simple Things

Brenden Kleiboeker - President

Brenden Kleiboeker – President

“It’s a beautiful day in the Ozarks.”
“We’re just making memories.”

Two quotes from my agriculture advisor, that I did not understand until recently. Yesterday was National Teach Ag day, and I learned so much from my agriculture teacher that I would like to share. My agriculture teacher is Mr. Duane Kaiser, and to fully understand these quotes, you must first understand his life. Mr. Kaiser grew up with a single mom in the 1960’s, and it was tough to make ends meet. Though his mom did not go to high school, she earned enough that her son was able to obtain an associate’s, bachelors, and master’s degrees in agriculture education. Mr. Kaiser built a dairy farm from scratch in the 1980s battling 19 and 20 percent interest, still he persevered. Just recently, when he started to think that the dairy market was getting good, here we are. 2019. The dairy market has slipped, and with every load of milk, Mr. Kaiser also sends his hard-earned cash to town, never to return. Still, he perseveres.

 

It is obvious that Mr. Kaiser has never had much in the way of material things, however he finds happiness without them. The beauty of a cool crisp morning, with the bobwhite singing on Stones Prairie brings joy to his heart. Funny experiences with students, and watching these students grow are memories that he stores in his heart forever. These things bring joy to Mr. Kaiser. Too often, we all get caught up in life. Who has the coolest truck, newest shoes, or the highest grades. However, someday, these things too shall pass. Years from now, all we will have is the beauty of the earth, and the memories we made. Learn from Mr. Kaiser and be content in the simple things. Missouri FFA, find the beauty in life.

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The Fall at Pinnacle Park

Brenden Kleiboeker - President

Brenden Kleiboeker – President

One Friday afternoon, I went to the Pinnacle Youth Park, north of Columbia. On the wall of a rocky canyon, many people venture to test their hiking and rock-climbing skills. I had descended from the parking lot down a rocky trail, had ventured across the creek, climbed up the canyon wall and ascended to the second highest point in the park. After taking in the beautiful view, my friends and I decided to climb back down, so that we could go to the highest point – the pinnacle. After watching my one friend easily climb down, I knew that I could safely do the same. However, when placing my second foot on the boulder —slip. I fell nearly 12 feet off the rock, hitting my feet onto the solid ground below. Needless to say, I was rather sore after falling, but we decided to trek ahead. Finally, we came to the branch of the trail which goes to the pinnacle. At this point, I was weary. I did not want to fall again, so I convinced my friends not to go. We went back to the car that day, without achieving our goal.

 

FFA Members, on the trek to our goals or pinnacles, we often face falls which will scare us. We will have lingering pain that will tempt us that our goal is not worth it. When we decide not to persevere to our goal, we only cheat ourselves out of our potential. We cheat ourselves out of helping others. Luckily, I can drive back to the Pinnacle Park any day and achieve what I gave up on. However, we are not often this lucky. We have one chance to achieve our goal, and if we give up after a fall, the chance is gone. Though we will face falls in our FFA journey and in life, continue to persevere, because we only have one life to leave our mark. FFA members, reach your pinnacle this year!

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Live Life in the Yellow

Jessica Janorschke - VP

Jessica Janorschke – VP

The sun was shining as sweat dripped down my skin and fear ran through my bones. Standing tall before my classmates, I was on a high ropes course that we would soon conquer. As we harnessed ourselves to safety, our instructors told us the goal was to live life in the yellow. That is, push us out of our comfort zones.

 

With my lack of balance and fear of heights, there was little in my favor. The first set of obstacles consisted of two tight-rope like cables. The goal was to make it across with only a partner to hold on to. I was paired with Thaddeus, and we each put one foot on the cable, then another and another. My arms and legs were shaking as I gripped Thaddeus to ensure we didn’t fall. We swayed back and forth. Then, a gust of wind brought the fearful fall, but it only lasted a second. Laughing and dangling in the sky by our harnesses, Thaddeus and I helped each other up to finish the course.

 

After falling, I realized that there was nothing to fear. If I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to live life in the yellow, I never would have experienced the adventure. The fact of the matter is, we must push ourselves to explore new opportunities to grow. This fall, we have the opportunity to present a fall speech or to work toward a successful SAE. Sometimes when we take the first step, we might fear of losing our balance. Our supporters, classmates and agriculture advisors are with us and can help us reach our goals, or in my case the other side of the cable.

 

FFA members, I challenge you to live life in the yellow.

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Don’t Be Afraid To Be The Difference

Isaiah Massey - 1st VP

Isaiah Massey – 1st VP

Fear: to be afraid of something that is likely to be dangerous, painful or threatening.

 

Everyone has his or her own personal fears. Some people are afraid of clowns, spiders and snakes but one thing we all share in common is that we all are afraid of being different.

 

Being different definitely is nerve wrecking, and I can attest to that on a personal level. My very first FFA meeting I attended was in a pair of cool grey Jordans and a shirt that was all white with a large bold black word saying “hustle.” I recognized very quickly from the surrounding AriatÒhats and boots that I stood out like a sore thumb.  At first, I was nervous, thinking that I didn’t belong here, that I was too different from everyone in the room, and they wouldn’t accept me for who I was. I remember being ready to storm out of that room as soon as the meeting was over just so I could avoid hearing the snickers and cackles that I drew up in my mind.

 

As soon the chapter president adjourned the meeting, I stood up and raced down the bleachers until I was stopped by a kid named Lucas Ellis. Lucas and I were classmates back in the 4th grade but hadn’t talked until that day after the FFA meeting — three years later.

 

I remember Lucas telling me that everyone was excited that I was there because not many people like me want to try understanding the world of agriculture.  I had spent this entire time worrying during the meeting that no one would accept me because I was different, but in fact it was the very reason of me being different that they accepted me.  In life, there will always be times where you will be different than others, and it will be scary. However, FFA members, being different is a beauty within itself.  It is where you can express yourself, be who you are and the best part is, there isn’t anyone else that can replicate your own personal identity.

 

FFA members I challenge you to be DIFFERENT.

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The Curse of the Photo Album

Drew Kientzy - VP

Drew Kientzy – VP

While spending Labor Day weekend at home, my Saturday morning began just as any other would — eating breakfast at my Grandma Janie’s house with my entire family. After the meal was over and the dishes were put away, one of my younger cousins came strolling into the kitchen with an old photo album. In just seconds, the book was sprawled across the table and everyone’s noses were buried into the faded pages.

 

About halfway through the album, my Grandpa stopped flipping pages and pulled out a picture of him on a tractor in 1973. After a few minutes of admiration and talk about the picture, Grandpa muttered “Yeah, those were the good old days, I only wish that I could go back for a while.” Following his declaration, we continued looking at the photos until my cousin that brought the album to the table spoke up and quietly asked, “Pop, why do you say that you wish that you could go back when you know you can’t. All that you can do is try to make next year be better and more like that one.”

 

At that statement, the whole room was taken aback. My eight-year-old cousin had just uttered some of the wisest words that any of us had ever heard, and though the idea in his statement might have not been a popular one, it was all too true. Now, I try to think of the past as merely a memory, good or bad, and only compare the present to what can be done better in the future.

 

As we move through our years in FFA, we must always remember to keep looking forward. Although there have been good times in the past, there is no way to re-enter that day. So instead of dwelling on the past and making the present and future less meaningful, let’s pin our eyes on the horizon of future opportunities, because we can never know when the most beautiful sunrise of opportunity might occur.

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Waves

Elizabeth Brooks - VP

Elizabeth Brooks – VP

Good ole’ August, the final month of summer full state fair shenanigans, school shopping, and my personal favorite, vacations! In fact, I was fortunate enough to spend my final days of summer soaking up the sun in Destin, Florida with my family. I spent most of the week on the beach, listening to the waves hit the shore and running away from seagulls that kept trying to steal my snacks. As I sat watching the waves, I thought about what a perfect metaphor for life waves are. Life literally comes in waves – there are moments when the waters are calm and life is just easy, and then there are moments when, no matter how great a swimmer you are, the waves just keep knocking you down (and maybe even stealing your sunglasses while they’re at it). But you know what, members? No matter how big the waves get and no matter how much life tries to knock you down, the waters will always recede, and life will always keep going. So, as the new school year kicks off, make this one the best one yet and remember that things will always, always get better!

 

 

 

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