2021-22 Officers

Dec 27 2021

The Storm of Life

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

 

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

 

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

 

Happy New Year!

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Nov 09 2021

Live and Learn

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

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

 

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

 

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

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Nov 09 2021

What’s Next?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Nov 09 2021

Smells of Thankfulness

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Oct 29 2021

Harvest Season

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

 

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


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

 

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

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Oct 08 2021

Thankful for Scary Opportunities

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So, how thankful are you for those scary opportunities?

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Oct 08 2021

Worker Ants

Worker ants. They help their colonies in any way they can. Each one has a specialized job whether it be building and mending the network of the colony, bringing in food, or caring for the young. Each one helps keep the colony running smoothly. When I think of ants, I think of them joining together to help carry heavy loads back to the colony. With the power of many, they can carry loads that totally exceed what one ant could ever do by itself. Together, they are able to bring food and building supplies back to their colony to improve quality of life. 

 

The cooperation of an ant colony reminds me of community service. FFA members across the state do all sorts of great service projects that benefit their communities every day. In FFA, we focus on building communities, and these service projects do just that. One example happened this past summer at the Missouri State Fair. FFA members from across the state packed more than 201,000 meals at the annual Drive to Feed Kids. The meals are distributed to food banks across Missouri and impact our communities. The Doniphan FFA chapter helped us pack meals, and when they were volunteering at their food bank back home, they got to see first hand how these meals made a difference in their community as they handed out those FFA emblem-branded bags to citizens in need. 

 

This is just one instance of how we can come together and accomplish big goals in our community. I challenge you to think outside the box and see what you can do in your community to give back. We all have the ability to give back to our communities and make a difference in our world!

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Sep 16 2021

Just Keep Swimming

One of my favorite Disney movies has always been Finding Nemo.  My favorite character is Dory because not only do we both struggle to remember things at times, but also because she is one of the most optimistic characters in the world.  I have found myself repeating her classic phrase, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” whenever I’m in a rough place.  

 

There is a line in the FFA creed that reads, “I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations…”.  From the very beginning we all knew there would be joyful success and uncomfortable struggles.  We all need to know the agricultural industry and life in general will always have its ups and downs. Just this last year FFA faced a huge struggle with COVID-19. Many of us didn’t know how to overcome this struggle, but we just kept moving forward. Now look at where we are. We are going to be attending an in-person National FFA Convention for the first time in two years, and you can bet that it’s going to be the best convention yet!

 

FFA members, we’ve  all been through some struggles over the last few years, and even the last few months.  However, what makes us stronger is not when we fall, but when we get back up. We always need to keep moving forward and overcome our struggles.  As you move forward this year and in the future, remember, FFA members, to always “Just Keep Swimming.” 

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Sep 16 2021

Be Prepared

Growing up, I was very active in the Boy Scouts, eventually earning my Eagle Scout rank this year. The Boy Scouts have a few core values, such as our motto, “Be Prepared”. Our motto was something that always stuck with me. Whether it was simply bringing a poncho to a football game when it is supposed to rain or making sure I have enough gas in my car to make a road trip, I always strive to “Be Prepared” for whatever may come my way. 

 

I think the Boy Scout motto is something we as FFA members can apply to our time spent in the blue jacket as well. In our ever-changing world, we are constantly being faced with many struggles and challenges in the agricultural industry. As FFA members, it is our duty to Be Prepared to educate our peers with the truth behind our industry we are all so passionate about. 

 

Personally, I don’t come from an agricultural background. I did not live on a farm, show a steer at the county fair, or even own a pair of cowboy boots, but I knew how important it was for me as an FFA member to share the truths of the agricultural industry to those around me. My SAE consists of owning/operating a house plant shop in my hometown, and one of my main focuses is to share the background and science of the plant industry with those who otherwise, may not get to learn. 

 

FFA members, my challenge to you is this: Find your connection to agriculture. Whether that is something more traditional such as raising beef or having a row crop operation, or selling plants from other countries, Be Prepared. Prepared to share, prepared to learn, prepared to educate. Be prepared for whatever may come your way. 

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Sep 06 2021

Passing Defeat with Grace

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated” – Maya Angelou.

I stumbled across these words while searching for my senior quote this past year. At first I stared at it, wondering what on earth the woman was talking about. But as I continued to re-read the quote, the absolute brilliance of the statement hit me. These words acknowledge that life is going to throw you a few curveballs. There are things that are going to cross your path that simply knock you flat on your back, but no matter what, you cannot stay on the ground. 

 

In the moment that you stare defeat in the face, it might seem impossibly large. It might seem as though it is a mountain that you will never move. It might seem easier to simply give up. But if you keep working and keep pushing yourself past your defeat, the victory will be that much greater. 

 

Throughout our FFA careers and life, we will face many obstacles, many things that feel like a huge loss. But we cannot let one setback hold us down. A football team doesn’t let a loss early in a season affect the playoffs. An FFA member doesn’t let one bad day of a career or leadership development event affect him or her when the district contest comes around. I challenge all of us to move past our defeats with grace and keep pushing ourselves and the people around us toward our victories. 

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