2019-20 Officers

Sunrises

Elizabeth Brooks

Elizabeth Brooks – VP

Do you remember the most breath-taking sunrise you have ever witnessed? For me, that sunrise was on the drive to Yellowstone National Park from Gardiner, Montana. It was still dark when my family left our hotel, but as we traveled through the mountains, pinks and oranges began to spill over the peaks into the valley. The dawn revealed dewy alfalfa fields and grazing cattle as I gazed at the beauty of the morning light peeking over the mountain tops. It was truly the most amazing sight I had ever seen!

 

I have seen many other beautiful sunrises in my life. I have always loved watching the sun rise because it gives me some perspective. Sunrises mean that today is a new day. Each time we witness the sun rise, we can enjoy a moment of peace and happiness knowing that we made it another day. No matter how dark the days before seemed, we can rest assured that each sunrise means a fresh start and a chance to make each day a great one.

 

Now, as I reflect on that memory and remember the beautiful sunrise, I recall the feelings of pure happiness and appreciation I had for that new day. Next time you see the sun rise, I encourage you to take just a moment to gaze at its simple beauty and appreciate the new day and new possibilities that lie before you.

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New Year, New Me

Alexandra Gast

“New year, new me.”

A common phrase we hear after the start of a new year. This statement is made by the individuals seeking change in their life and have a desire to be better than the year before. But here is a truth that very few people seem to accept: You will be the same you, same as the year before, if you do not work hard and make an effort to be better.

 

You see, change doesn’t happen overnight and neither does success. It takes countless hours of hard work, combined with passion and a desire to be better. In the next few weeks, FFA members across the state will be signing up for a contest team, beginning the preparations for their spring speeches, or gathering a team for Ag Issues. As this preparation starts, you must make a choice: will you approach this season of life just like before — lacking the hard work and passion to be successful? Or, will you commit yourself, learn something new, spend the extra hours to perfect your skills and knowledge?

 

FFA members, this season will only be different if you try. It will only be different if you change. Work hard, be excited for what’s to come, and set goals for the upcoming year. Believe in yourself and work hard.

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Stay in Practice – And Wash Your Hands!

Brenden Kleiboeker

FFA members, as I write this blog to you, I am preparing for a New Year, however I am laying in bed sick. Being sick over Christmas Vacation is no fun, and has led me to question many reasons why I am sick. However, being sick has helped me put together some thoughtful insight for the New Year for you.

I spent most of last week on the road doing chapter visits, I had a great time visiting FFA members across the state, however one thing I did not do enough is wash my hands. After a visit, I would swing through a drive through for a meal, and even think to myself that I should wash up, but decide I did not have time and go ahead and eat my meal. Just like in our everyday life, we often think doing the little things will take too much time. However, when it comes down to it, taking a single minute to wash my hands could have kept me from getting sick and spending multiple days in bed.

Whenever I came home from Columbia, I realized that I had forgotten my Vitamin C tablets in my dorm room. “No biggie” I thought to myself. I did not realize how big of an effect this could have on my immune system. A cold and a respiratory virus later, I wish I would have stayed in practice with my vitamins. Just like practicing for an LDE or CDE, if it works for you, do not quit doing it, or you will see the negative feedback later.

FFA members, learn from my mistakes in the coming year: do not overlook the little things, and stay in practice and I am sure that you will be successful!

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Feed Just One

Kensie Darst

“If you cannot feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
–Mother Teresa

There is nothing more rewarding than uplifting others through service. Mother Teresa devoted her life to serve the poor and the impoverished. She spent countless hours, traveled many miles and made an unforgettable mark on the people she encountered. Teresa was admired by many for her heart of service. She believed that her life had purpose. With that purpose, she fulfilled her calling to serve others during their times of need.

 

Mother Teresa is recognized to this day as a humble individual who fought through harm’s way just to help someone else. She knew that she could not help all of those who were in need, but she became blissful to know that she changed the life of just one human.

 

Throughout our lives, we face times when we lend a hand to help our friends and family. As an FFA member, we live a life of service. Be willing to take any opportunity to serve others this year with a grateful heart. Whether this be through cleaning and fixing the local community garden, picking up trash along the highway with your chapter or simply beginning a food or clothing drive to provide for local families in need.

 

Mother Teresa is an individual who many looked up to, though she did not desire the recognition. Her life relates to the last line of the FFA motto, “Living to Serve.” Members, I challenge you to make a difference in the lives of others this year to fulfill your true purpose as a member.

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Sacrifices

Isaiah Massey - 1st VP

Isaiah Massey – 1st VP

“There’s a popular quote going around that the person you will be in the next five years is based on the books you read, and the people you hang around.  Now this is very true, but this is more than just those two variables. The person you will become in the next five years depends on everything that you do. Your actions yesterday affect your life in the future.”

 

This is an excerpt from my favorite motivational speech called Feed Your Mind by fearless motivation.  I listen to this speech at least once a day because it challenges me to make the best choices I can make in the long run. A situation where I truly had to put this speech to practice was the end of my junior year in high school.  After FFA banquet, I had a dilemma. On one hand my football coach was telling me about the football programs that were scouting me to play for their program. On the other hand, my advisor was telling me that I had the potential to become a state officer.

 

Both choices would take a yearlong of commitment, and I had a big decision to make going into my senior year. Do I go down the path that I’ve known my entire life, or do I choose a path that I’ve only been in recently? As I got home from banquet I went downstairs to my room and laid out my football jersey and chapter jacket.  I looked at my football jersey and reminisced all the years I’ve had playing the sport with my friends when we were younger. As I studied my FFA jacket, I thought about all the friends I have made, all of the skills I have learned and the potential I have found in myself. The very thought of hanging up my cleats made me feel like I was disappointing a lot of people, but the thought of not perusing FFA made me sick to my stomach. With tears in my eyes, I had to think about that phrase that I always played in my head. “The person you will be in the next five years is based on the books you read and the people you hang around.” That phrase spoke volumes to me in that moment as I realized the amount of growth I’ve experienced because of FFA and that path that I am on, that if it weren’t for FFA then I wouldn’t be the man I am today.

 

FFA members, there will be many decisions to make in life and most of those decisions will require sacrifice. Still, the question you must ask yourself first is who the person is you want to be in the future? And, what are you going to do to speak your future into existence?

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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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