2022-23 Officers

Colin McIntyre
Sep 20 2023

Find your Chocolate Ice Cream

I LOVE chocolate ice cream, so much so that when I go to the store, there is only one brand I eat. If they do not have that brand, I convince myself I did not want or need the ice cream in the first place. The last time this happened, I was sitting in Walmart telling myself I did not want the Blue Bell chocolate ice cream. I knew I wanted the ice cream, and I wanted it bad. But I told myself I didn’t. I talked myself out of it because, conveniently, it was not available. To me, the other options were simply not good enough. Although it might not be chocolate ice cream, I see this happening in my day-to-day life. I tell myself I do not want to do something even though I want to so badly. 


This comes to life for each of us in FFA. As young members, we tell  ourselves, “Oh, I do not want to get involved.” Using phrases like, “I don’t need it,”or, “It won’t have a use in my life,” or my personal favorite, “Well, I don’t want to be a farmer.” We tell ourselves these negative thoughts so that maybe, just maybe, we will convince ourselves into doing something we don’t want to do. I have done it a thousand times at the grocery store, telling myself, “I don’t even want chocolate ice cream.” Whether we are just starting out in the organization or continuing our FFA careers, we are fortunate enough to have the opportunities laid out in front of us. All the ice cream flavors of opportunity and all of the brands are at our fingertips, we just have to put them in our shopping carts. So next time you find yourself looking for the same brand and flavor of ice cream, challenge yourself to try something new. Who knows? You might discover your new favorite flavor.

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Karson Calvin
Aug 04 2023

Close the Gap

If you have ever run in a high school cross-country race, you have probably heard the encouraging voice of your coach yelling, “Close the gap!” Upon hearing the words,  you look up to see the appearance of a runner in the distance. My high school cross-country experience was no different, and I found myself hearing that particular phrase an odd number of times throughout the race. While I started this five-kilometer race energized and ready to run by the halfway point, I was exhausted and ready to be done. As I slowed down my pace and saw the group of runners I was in go farther and farther in the distance, I was ready to give up. But, as I was getting ready to stop running, I heard the familiar voice of my coach saying, “Close the gap, Karson, one step at a time, close the gap.” That was the motivation I needed. Although I was exhausted, I kept pushing one foot in front of the other to close the gap. I will admit, I never caught the group of runners and passed them myself, but I did get closer. What at one time during the race was a group shadow became living, breathing competitors that pushed me even further. 

Throughout our lives, we will find ourselves in moments of exhaustion, sickness, frustration, and so many other emotions. During these times we feel like we are so far behind others that we cannot keep going, that we just need to give up on the task at hand. However, no matter how far behind we might feel, we need to keep moving forward, keep putting one foot in front of the other and close the gap. When we close the gaps in our lives, the goals that once were far off in the distance become something we can feel and is the extra motivation to keep moving forward. Close your gap.

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Colin McIntyre
Jun 21 2023

Regardless of Rank

In the 2022 Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike had 80-1 odds — a horse worth just $30,000, the horse who was informed at 8:45 that there were no scratches. Just minutes before the registration closed, a scratch gave Rich Strike a chance to run the race of his life. Rich Strike started on the worst side of the track and began 17 lengths behind the leaders. Against all odds, Rich Strike rose to the top, and then became the winner of the 2022 Kentucky Derby. Not only did that horse work hard to win, but he also succeeded. From time to time in life, there have been moments when I’ve felt as if all odds were against me, whether that was trying to get out of bed, reading a book, or most recently taking a math test. As we go through our life there are going to be times when each one of us will feel as if everything is against us. 

Rich Strike might have had every odd against him, but there is no doubt that regardless of his rank on the track he worked his way to the winner’s circle. The task wasn’t easily accomplished; much hard work was required to achieve succeess. In FFA we might find ourselves working toward being the winner. Although our time in this organization is limited, if we work hard to achieve our goals then we will all have a fighting chance. Regardless of where we place ourselves on the track, we will have the opportunity to be the winner. Sometimes the opportunity might not arise until just minutes before the registration closes.

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Hannah Rice, VP
Mar 20 2023

Unconditional Worth

I was blessed to be in the National FFA Band in 2021. This was one of my favorite experiences from high school. I came home excited about both band and FFA, and all my friends in both organizations got to hear me ramble about this awesome opportunity. I have a sweet freshman friend named Arely who expressed interest in applying for the National FFA Band last spring. A few months later, I was ecstatic to hear that she had been accepted.


Arely loved everything about the National FFA Band. She went on and on about her new friends, the thrill of performing, and the wonders of convention. I remembered the feeling, and I was inexpressibly happy that we got to share this experience. When she returned home, she was met with a whirlwind of homework, all-district band auditions, and FFA Area IV Fall Speaking. A couple of days after convention, Arely collapsed into tears outside the ag shop. It was apparent to me that she was exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed. For a freshman, she had so much on her plate. If I had been in her position, I would have felt the same way. I could see that she was being way too hard on herself, but I realized that I would have looked at this situation in the same light.


We are our own biggest critics. Even though Arely had just accomplished something wonderful by being in the National FFA Band, she was dissatisfied because she was struggling to keep up with other demands. Sometimes we need to be kind to ourselves and give ourselves grace. Our worth is unconditional, not measured by our accomplishments. I live by the Bible verse Matthew 11:28-30, which says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This verse reminds me that I can find rest in God’s presence rather than worrying about my life. Arely is an absolute rockstar and as I consoled her on that warm November morning, I learned the importance of being gentle with myself, too.

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Emily Nelson, VP
Mar 20 2023

Anticipate More

Be in the moment. This has been stressed to me on multiple occasions. My ag teacher would tell me to breathe, relax, and be present before I entered the room to give my prepared speech. My parents would remind me to focus and remember to be in the moment as I entered the show ring with my goat in tow. In moments of competition I was successful in focusing on the moment. My surroundings would fade away as I focused all of my attention and energy. The sounds around me softened and my vision zoned in on my judge. I was anticipating the results of my performance.


Anticipate more success. As I wait in the holding room to give my speech, I anxiously pace the length of the room. Anxiety builds up and creates butterflies in my stomach. I know that I am prepared and that my anxiety is only a sign that I care. To calm my nerves I stand in the superman pose. Feet shoulder width apart, hands on my hips, and my head held high. I close my eyes and anticipate winning this competition. I walk into the room and give my speech to the judges, with my mind clear. This is when I am in my element and I eagerly wait to hear how my performance ranked.


Anticipate more failures. Sometimes you can do everything to your best ability and yet it does not turn out how you want it to. I have walked away from many contests where I open judging card just to find that I did not perform as well as I thought I did. In the moment I furrow my brows and feel the disappointment weighing in my stomach. I have failed many times over. And I know this will happen again and again. But each failure is a chance to anticipate the next chance to outperform ourselves.


Now as I prepare for state convention I am anticipating more. More excitement. More FFA members. More celebrations. This year’s convention will be full of hustle and bustle as members eagerly await the announcement of proficiency awards and contest results. Be present in the moment as you will never get this exact experience again. Whether it be a moment of failure or great triumph, fully feel the moment with every sense. And when you get the chance to try again, anticipate more.

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Jacob King, VP
Jan 31 2023

Appreciation, Competition, and Success

Jacob King

The winter season is commonly associated with bitter cold temperatures, snowstorms, and slick road conditions. There is not much to get excited about unless it is an occasional snow day. Although winter might not bring a lot of excitement when it comes to the weather, it does bring the excitement for FFA in the spring. Every fourth week in February, FFA members from across the U.S. dedicate an entire week to celebrating the history of this great organization. Shortly after National FFA Week, CDE and LDE contest season begins, bringing a new level of diligence for practice, preparation, anticipation, and performance in competition.


I cherish the fun memories I made in high school during National FFA Week. Each day during FFA week is designated with a different type of fashion style. For example, I particularly remember redneck day, camo day, dress up like a teacher day, and blue and gold day. I always enjoyed getting to dress up on those days. Usually on Wednesday of FFA Week, my chapter would host a teacher appreciation breakfast for the teachers and for the chapter. Your FFA chapter might do something like this. Your chapter could do something very different. There is a lot of room for fun and creative ideas for FFA Week activities. National FFA Week is a time to embrace camaraderie, fellowship, and fun, but it is also a time to embrace appreciation. As members of this organization, we should always be appreciative of the countless number of opportunities and resources that FFA provides.


CDE and LDE contest season was my favorite time of the school year. Being able to participate in these competitions was always a thrill to me. There was just something about getting on a school bus at 6:30 a.m. on a cold Saturday morning that always made me excited for competition. You might be hesitant to participate in an LDE or CDE, but if you have the chance, take that opportunity, and run with it. There are so many choices that you should find an activity that you are interested in. You might even try competing in both types of competitions. You can absolutely find a contest that meets your interest or passion.


Success is something that we all desire and strive to achieve, but unfortunately, success is not handed out. For you to experience success, you must earn it. You might place first in state with a CDE or LDE. You might place last in one of these events. No matter the placing, just remember that the willingness to try to make yourself better is a success.


Appreciate the opportunities offered by the National FFA Organization. Compete to make the best YOU possible. Challenge yourself and put yourself in the position to succeed.

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Malerie Schutt, VP
Jan 31 2023

New Year, New Me: The Desire for Success

I have been a college student for over a semester now, and I can say that living on your own — away from your family and closest friends, being forced to meet new people, and not to mention taking care of paying for things — has made me grow up a little. Since school started in August, I have had to be more cognizant of what my habits consisted of on a daily basis. Because there was nobody there to tell me what I should and should not do, I had to make sure I was doing productive things so I stayed on the path to success. This also meant that I had to set goals for myself and hold myself accountable to accomplish those particular goals. If I didn’t take these actions, I would probably be in the same spot I was in six months ago. Six months ago, I had the intention of only doing the bare minimum- getting good grades and surviving the change between high school and college. I soon realized that if I wanted to be successful, I had to set challenging goals for myself in order to change who I was for the better. As I was in the process of making a list of goals and expectations for myself a variety of thoughts came to mind that prohibited me from the process. Questions arose like: “What kind of goals would I even set for myself?”; “What’s the point of setting goals when it’s so easy to give up?”; “Will I even accomplish these goals?” After these questions rushed through my mind, I took a deep breath and asked myself another question, but this one had great value: “Where do you want to be in a year?” As I reflected on this question, I had a plethora of ideas for goals I wanted to accomplish in the near future. The next thing I did was make a list of all the things I wanted to achieve. 

Goals are just words written on a piece of paper. It’s one thing to write them down with the intention of accomplishing them. But it’s another when we actually put forth the effort and have the continuous desire to mark those tasks off our list. There is a reason why we thought of the goals we have on our list: because we want to achieve them. But here is where everything gets lost in translation.  After we write down our goals, we get caught up in the craziness of life and prioritize other things over the ideas we had to become better individuals. We put ourselves on the back burner when things start to seem more important. While life can be overwhelming at times, especially when it’s senior year of high school and you’re cramming in scholarship applications on top of studying for your FFA contest team, it’s the actions we make at that time that are most important. It’s those times where it’s critical that we focus on ourselves, because that’s where the progress starts. That’s where we make enormous strides down our road to success. 

The other day, I came across this quote on Pinterest and it got me thinking. It stated, “You can’t do big things if you’re distracted by small things.” Meaning, if we are always focusing our attention on every little thing that’s happening around us, we tend to lose sight of ourselves and what we need to do for our own good. Our progress on being successful individuals gets put on pause when we become distracted from the minor details in life: social media, our peers, irrelevant issues, and many more. FFA members, in this new year, make sure you are putting yourself as a priority. 

And remember, YOU are the only one in control of how successful you can be. 

YOU are the one who sets the goals for yourself.  

YOU decide how far you go down the road to success. 

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Allison Schneider, VP
Jan 30 2023

Be the Future

As my time in the blue jacket starts dwindling, I am thinking back on all the great memories I have had. The amazing friendships I’ve made, the experiences I have taken hold of and the words of wisdom and advice I’ve heard and taken to heart. Some of my favorite advice has been “do it anyway;” “soak in this feeling of hurt, it will make rewards feel that much better;” “do what makes you happy;” “walk out of the interview room with a smile, then laugh”; “remember who you’re doing this for;”and “we don’t have problems we only have solutions”. These quotes from my mentors over the years have come in handy in many different situations but when they all came together for me is when I repeatedly heard a common phrase we hear as agriculturists and FFA members. “We are the future of our industry.” What does that phrase really mean? Do we take it with a grain of salt? Do we just respond with a nod and smile? Do we even give it a second thought? I know I did not until just recently while my team and I were facilitating Greenhand Motivational Conferences. I told our Greenhands that they were the future of our organization. Saying it was more than just repeating words; it was a call to action, a challenge that I hope they accepted: to continue making FFA the largest student lead organization in the nation. I hope it was a call to action to continue representing with pride, honor and respect for ourselves and others. So, when we hear “you’re the future” instead of nodding and smiling, start dreaming and aspiring to make it that much better and continue to hold up the traditions!

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Jason Holland, VP
Dec 17 2022

Direct Your Growth

The end of 2022 is upon us, and with it brings the end of the first semester of school. That is an exciting time for most as it means winter break and Christmas! As exciting as the holidays are, the time can also be stressful. Catching up on homework, turning in last minute assignments, and worst of all prepping for semester finals. This monster can come in many shapes and forms. For some it might be a paper, while for others it could be a presentation. For me, it came in the form of making a 30 minute television show.


We were split into groups with everyone assigned a different role on the crew. While some might have had the less stressful jobs such as camera crew or VTR, I decided I wanted to challenge myself and take on the role of director. It was by far the most challenging and nerve racking job because the whole show would be relying on me. However, I worked all semester to enhance my skills, and though it was scary, I knew I wanted to push myself. Eventually the day came to film, the crew set up, and I took my position in the director’s chair. When the show came to a close our group celebrated. We had run into a few road bumps here and there, but we came out better than before. I had overcome my fear, and grew as a person.


FFA members, I tell you this story not to brag on myself, but rather to illustrate just how important it is that we challenge ourselves. Throughout this year, you are going to be presented with opportunities that you might not think you are ready for, or might just be too scared to take. These are the exact types of challenges we need to face head on. It will be scary, and that is okay. The best experiences you will ever have will come from something you were originally nervous to do. Take that step. Apply for that office position. Give that speech. Do whatever it is that you are nervous about or scared of. Be the director of your own story, the one where you become the best version of yourself.

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Annamarie Stone, VP
Dec 05 2022

It’s Okay to Look Back

We have all heard the quotes about not looking back or just keeping our eyes forward, but I have come to find that some of the most beautiful things are those that are behind us.  

When it came to picking a school I knew I wanted to stay close to home. I decided I would go to Mizzou, and then I had to choose where I would live. After some deliberation I came to the conclusion that I would live at home so I could continue my SAE, save some money, and live closer to the members that I am serving this year. Although driving is not my favorite task and Columbia traffic can test my nerves, there has been one good thing that leaving the house at 6:30 a.m. has brought me. Each morning when I get into my car the sun is just starting to peer over the golden harvest ready corn and each time I look into my rearview mirror that is what I see. After seeing the breathtaking view morning after morning, it got me thinking that if all I did while I drove was look forward then – one it would get monotonous, two I wouldn’t know who was behind me, and three I would miss the sunrise. 

Sometimes in life we tend to only look forward and forget about the beautiful views that are behind. When we only look forward we become numb to our surroundings just like the views get monotonous. When we only look forward we forget about who is following us and looking to us for guidance. When we only look forward we sometimes forget about some of the most joyous times in our life. I encourage you to look into the rearview mirror. Remember the accomplishments, the friendships, the smiles, and then remember that although there are beautiful moments behind us just like the sunrise, there is something beautiful that lays ahead for us. 

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