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Stand Up and Speak Out

Whether you are interested in strengthening your speaking skills or simply meeting new friends, the Missouri Public Speaking Academy (PSA) might be right for you.

Missouri State FFA Vice President Dillon Reinitz is a past PSA attendee. He says the experience helped him sharpen his presentations, hook the audience and develop a topic meaningful to the audience.

“I personally was the shy kid who was frightened of talking to others,” Reinitz says. “After attending the Missouri Public Speaking Academy my freshman year of high school, I felt as though I could effectively and confidently present a speech to anyone.”

Reinitz tried his hand at public speaking the following spring. “I did really well because of the skills I learned at PSA and even attended two more times,” he says. “I highly recommend all FFA members attend PSA at least once.”

This year’s PSA will be held June 4-6 on the University of Central Missouri campus in Warrensburg.  Sixty spots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Deadline to apply is May 15. Registration application is available online HERE.

—from our staff.

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Cultivate Tomorrow Today: Missouri State FFA Convention

Who doesn’t find value in an American hero? Dave Roever is a Vietnam veteran backed by solid character, and he’s slated to headline this year’s state FFA Convention, April 25-26 in Columbia. Roever will inspire and challenge FFA members across the state through his engaging humor.

A Purple Heart recipient, Roever joined the U.S.  Navy at the height of the Vietnam War. He served as a river boat gunner in the elite Brown Water Black Beret, until tragedy occurred. His survival and ensuing life with his faithful wife Brenda at his side are miraculous. Now a multi-generational communicator, Roever travels the globe to share his gripping story, imparting hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Themed “Cultivate Tomorrow Today,” this year’s state convention also features award presentations, career development events, workshops and the ever-popular FFA Career Show.

Missouri also welcomes National FFA Western Region Vice President Shea Booster of Bend, Oregon, to the convention. Booster hopes to encourage members and ag education students to appreciate themselves as individuals.

“Every member has been crafted through years of experiences that have led them to where they are today, allowing them to find comfort in their uniqueness, one member, one day at a time,” Booster said.

While attending Mountain View High School, Booster’s supervised agricultural experience (SAE) was swine production. Majoring in agricultural business management, Booster is a sophomore at Oregon State University. He served as the 2016-17 Oregon FFA state president.

“I hope to intentionally seek out moments to build confidence in other young people who share my passion for leadership in agriculture,” Booster says.

Booster hopes to eventually work for an agriculture company in the areas of leadership development, talent recruitment or communications before taking over his father’s leadership consultation company.

In addition to these guest speakers, the 91st Annual Missouri FFA Convention will feature leadership workshops for members. The FFA Career Show also gives students and guests insight and the chance to learn about agricultural businesses, organizations, colleges and universities and more. Additionally, Missouri FFA will recognize the State Star Farmer, State Star in Agribusiness and State Star in Placement as well as present more than 750 State FFA Degrees to deserving members statewide. More than 8,000 people are expected to be in Columbia at the University of Missouri Hearnes Center for the state’s largest FFA event.

—from our staff.

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5 Reasons to Get Involved with Missouri FFA Alumni

1 – Discover New Opportunities

For alumni members, opportunities span from helping charter new chapters to selecting scholarship recipients. The more you get involved, the more you figure out what you want to be involved in, and what you can take back to your local chapter.


2 – Join a Network

We all have the same common goal and a lot of value is behind that. The more we grow, the more we can do for you and your local FFA chapter.


3 – Lead Outside the Office

You can run for national council offices from the state to the national level, so it’s a leadership component as well. Why not take a stand to represent your portion of the state?


4 – Make a Real Difference

It’s the feeling that you’re helping the FFA and being a difference in someone’s life. Whether it’s time or money you contribute, every minute or dollar is going toward preparing youth with leadership and career skills.


5 – Return the Favor

As you get older, you realize people helped you along the way and you learned from what they taught you. If you grew up in FFA, you know that to be even more true. Do the same for the next generation.


—by Alexa Nordwald.

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2019 Greenhand Motivational Conferences

JAN. 7: 9 a.m., Area 8 – Lincoln University, Jefferson City
JAN. 8: 8:30 a.m., Area 14 –  Sullivan High School, Sullivan
JAN. 8: 9 a.m., Area 4 –  University of Missouri, Columbia
JAN. 8: 9 a.m., Area 6 –  State Fair Community College, Sedalia
JAN. 8: 12 p.m., Area 7 –  State Fair Community College, Sedalia
JAN. 8: 2 p.m., Area 13 –  Waynesville
JAN. 8: 4 p.m., Area 5 –  Bowling Green
JAN. 9: 9:30 a.m., Area 3 –  Truman State University, Kirksville
JAN. 9: 9 a.m., Area 10 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 9: 12 p.m., Area 9 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 9: 2:30 a.m., Area 16 –  Three Rivers Community College, Poplar Bluff
JAN. 10: 8 a.m., Area 2 –  North Central Missouri College, Trenton
JAN. 10: 8:30 a.m., Area 13 –  Missouri State University, West Plains
JAN. 10: 8:30 a.m., Area 15 –  Southeast Mo. State University, Cape Girardeau
JAN. 10: 9 a.m., Area 12 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 10: 11:30 a.m., Area 2 –  North Central Missouri College, Trenton
JAN. 10: 12 p.m., Area 11 –  Missouri State University, Springfield
JAN. 11: 8:30 a.m., Area 1 –  Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph

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4 Tips to Jumpstart Your Career



Change is inevitable. When former FFA member and now Missouri Department of Agriculture  Deputy Director Garrett Hawkins started college, he wanted to be an ag teacher. Half way through, he realized it wasn’t the right fit and decided to study ag business. Bottom line, your first choice won’t necessarily be the right one for your skills and passions.



Technical skills are important, but you must be able to work with others to be successful in the long run. An ability to listen, write and speak will serve you well in any career.



This begins now through your SAE, community involvement and getting to know business leaders in your community. As you pursue the next step, get an internship. The right one might just open a door to a great career.



Humble yourself and have the mindset that you’re not going to start at an executive level position. You must acquire skills and learn the culture of the organization. Be satisfied in what you’re doing and know that opportunities to advance will come. Show that you’re willing to work hard, be a team player and try new things.

–by Alexa Nordwald

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Small Town Service

Size can be relative. In the case of Bosworth, Missouri, that’s exactly the case.

With a population around 300, little things like a community garden can make a big difference.

That said, FFA Advisor Melissa Eiserer saw an opportunity to better her community and she took it.



After seeing information about Living to Serve (LTS) grants in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announcements, Eiserer realized it would pair well with the school board’s desire to have a garden at their school.

LTS grants provide an opportunity for FFA chapters to seek funding to support a variety of service projects through a competitive application process.

Applicants must identify a community need that falls within one of four focus areas:

  • Community Safety
  • Hunger, Health and Nutrition
  • Environmental Responsibility
  • Community Engagement

Eiserer, who has taught at Bosworth for eight years, said she met two, if not three, of the areas with the garden project.

“We harvested over 1,200 pounds of vegetables for our school and community with the 2018 project,” she said.

Once the grant was secured, Bosworth FFA members—and the entire student body—went to work.

Even with the whole school pitching in to start and maintain the garden, Bosworth still needed the community to help. After all, only 54 students attend Bosworth School.

“Out of 18 high school kids total, we have 15 students in FFA,” Eiserer said.



Bosworth has a small agriculture building, with a greenhouse next to it. Until the garden project, a double-wide trailer that had been used for preschool sat on a lot near it, but the school board moved the trailer to make way for the community garden project.

Eiserer saw great potential in the spot where the trailer had sat.

“The foundation was non-fertile soil, and I thought that would be awesome to put raised beds on because it was otherwise useless,” she said.

That vision took flight in the form of a galvanized livestock tank container garden.

Each class, preschool through 8thgrade, has a row of three container gardens. The lessons learned through the garden for each age are different. Preschoolers and  and young ones use seed tape. The older kids get a hand in all that a garden entails.

“Each class put the potting soil in the containers, and everybody got their hands dirty,” Eiserer said. “Our FFA members were the extra hands to help the younger ones.”

The first day, everybody built gardens. They came back the next day and planted the gardens.

In addition to the container garden, they also planted a traditional garden so students could get experience with running a gas-powered tiller.



From the weeding to the watering and finally, the harvest, Bosworth students get to grow their own food. It’s an experience many of them have never had.

While Bosworth is a small town, most of its students are not from the farm.

“I don’t have traditional farm kids here,” Eiserer said. “Most live in town. Only three of my FFA students actually live on a small, hobby farm.”

The community is involved, too.

“We held workdays throughout the summer for community members to come in and help water the garden and harvest,” Eiserer said. “Over the summer, the kids come in and help, too.”

To get the goods out to the community,Eiserer uses social media and her front porch.

“I put a post up on Facebook that the produce is available, and it’s all gone by the next morning,” she said.

Some of the produce also goes to the local store using an honor system.

“The community members can make one stop and get their community produce, too,” Eiserer said. “They can donate money in the can, and out the door they go with their produce.”

The bounty was good for the garden’s first year—about 40 watermelons and 50 pie pumpkins among numerous other fruits and vegetables. Students are preserving some of the produce to be used in the school and community holiday program, which is a series of noon luncheons for the whole school.

“We will provide fruit and vegetables out of the garden for the Christmas dinner this year,” Eiserer said.



The community is benefiting from more than a homegrown holiday dinner.

“Some of our older citizens that don’t garden anymore have been able to have some garden produce without driving the 20 miles into town,” she said.

The kids are also learning a skill that they can use.

“Teaching these kids that they can have a garden is very rewarding,” Eiserer said. “They’re learning that taking a chance on something that you’ve worked hard to grow can be good for your body and fun to do.”



After applying, and getting, the LTS grant twice, she said it does take some work.

“The hardest part was getting the objectives right,” Eiserer said. “Writing educational goals for preschool through 12thgrade was challenging.”

Eiserer used education resources from Missouri Farmers Care and the Missouri Soybean Association, which helped with the educational component of the application.

In 2019, the community garden—and the LTS grant funding—will continue.

“This year’s project will be for improvement with a watering system and expansion of different agriscience projects with gardening,” she said.

–by Ginger Merritt

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2018 National FFA Convention – Missouri Tidbits

  • 518 American Degree Recipients


  • National Officer Candidate – Sydney Mason


  • 5 Teachers receiving Honorary AM. Degree

    Charli J. Baugh – Joplin; Jay Craven – Holden; Paul Crews – Glasgow; Kelli Nolting – Carl Junction; Kyle Whittaker – Marshfield.


  • 16 National Delegates


  • 6 National Talent Performers

Sierra Barker, North Callaway; Skyler Barker, North Callaway; Maggie Frakes, Portageville; Brett Griesbaum, Palmyra; Matthew Huchteman, Dadeville; Hunter Todd, Odessa.

  • 16 National Chorus Members

Ryan Altman, Winfield; Bethany Bailey, Gallatin; Emily Bilyeu, California; Sierra Bruse, Princeton; Trenton Gabirel, Worth County; Patience Lockhart, Nevada; Logan Lucas, Monroe City; Macie McNeely, Gallatin; Chloe Moss, Crocker; Dylan Murdock, Couch; Dallin Nield, Miller; Kylee Peters, Higbee; Connor Pfaff, Monroe City; Konner Sisseck, Nevada; Jill Stundebeck, Salisbury; Colin Wilburn, Van-Far.


  • 13 National Band Members

Aubrey Bunge, Van-Far; Trace Chambers, Fayette; Cathryn Denny, Carl Junction; Haleigh Ferguson, Smithton; Emily Korff, North Callaway; Kimberly Niemeyer, Bowling Green; Tara Schnelting, Owensville; Avery Shultz, Memphis; Olivia Sloan, Salisbury; Luke Vaughn, Marceline; Jacob Wilson, Gallatin; Cory Word, Saxony Lutheran; Koltan York, Crocker


  • 4 Individuals receiving Honorary AM. Degree

Colleen Abbott, Columbia; Hilary Black, Jefferson City; Doug Kueker, Lake Ozark; Jackie Lacy, Maryville.


  • Hall of States – Cassville FFA



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2018 Missouri National Finalists

American Star Farmer Finalists

Austin Stanton – Centralia

Agriscience Fair – 9 Finalists
  • Animal Systems – Division 4 – Dylan Sparks/Izabella Kidwell – Troy
  • Animal Systems – Division 5 – Daryin Sharp – Bolivar
  • Animal Systems – Division 6 – Jenna Hahn/ Colli Nichols – Troy
  • Environ Services/NRS – Division 4 – Megan Hargis/ Lexi Vickrey  – Troy
  • Environ Services/NRS – Division 5 – Isaiah Massey – Troy
  • Environ Services/NRS – Division 6 – Jordan M iller/Tyler Linneman – Carrollton
  • Food Products – Division 5 – Preston McDowell – Tuscumbia
  • Plant Systems – Divison 5 – Addison Burns – Gallatin
  • Social Systems – Division 6 – Katy Grant & Allie Lock – Carrollton

Proficiency Awards – National Finalists (11)
  • Agricultural Sales – Placement – Hank Hoeppner – Higginsville
  • Agriscience Research – Integrated Systems – Sara Gammon – Drexel
  • Dairy Production Entrepreneurship – Austin Freund – Concordia
  • Diversified Horticulture – Natasha Jenkins – Boonville
  • Environmental Science/Natural Resources Management –Cameron Gehlert – Linn
  • Equine Science – Placement – Jacob Blank – Richland
  • Forage Production – Hannah Strain – Rolla
  • Goat Production – Riley Tade – Ashland
  • Grain Production – Entrepreneurship – Jacob Dierking – Santa Fe
  • Specialty Crop Production – Grace Box – Neosho
  • Swine Production – Placement – Brenden Kleiboeker – Pierce City

National Chapter Awards
  • 31 Three Star Chapters
  • Model of Excellence Finalist  – Marshall FFA and Paris FFA
  • Premier Chapter – Growing Leaders Finalists – Marshall

CDE Participants
  • Ag Issues – Eldon
  • AG Sales – Eldon
  • AG Mechanics – North Shelby
  • Agronomy – Elsberry
  • Conduct of Meetings – Troy
  • Creed – Kaitlin Kleiboeker – Pierce City
  • Dairy Cattle – Butler
  • Dairy Cattle Handlers-Grant Dohle,Pleasant Hope
  • Employment Skills – Jayla Wortman, Neosho
  • Environmental/Nat Res. – Mount Vernon
  • Extemp Speaking – Hattie Grisham, Eldon
  • Farm Bus. Mgt – Slater
  • Floriculture – Owensville
  • Food Science – Columbia
  • Forestry – Stockton
  • Horse – Columbia
  • Livestock – Nevada
  • Meats – Paris
  • Milk Quality – Wheaton
  • Nursery/Landscape – Audrain Co. R-VI
  • Parliamentary – Tipton
  • Poultry – Paris
  • Public Speaking – Brenden Kleiboeker, Pierce City


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Missouri Agriculture Bands Together to Combat Childhood Hunger

Drive to Feed Kids Logo
JEFFERSON CITY, MO. – The 2018 Drive to Feed Kids officially kicks off today. The goal for this collaboration is to raise funds to provide food for hungry Missouri children, pack 100,000 nutritious, kid-friendly meals at the Missouri State Fair and to stand in the gap for the Missouri children who face food insecurity.


In 2017, Missouri Farmers Care (MFC) launched Drive to Feed Kids to combat childhood food insecurity and showcase Missouri agriculture. The inaugural Drive raised nearly $150,000 for Feeding Missouri, the coalition of Missouri’s six regional food banks, provided 52,000 nutritious meals and 9,000 pounds of food donations to Missouri children who face hunger on a regular basis.


According to the latest data from Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap”, there are more than 240,000 children in Missouri who don’t know where their next meal will come from. Missouri counties with the highest rates of food insecurity are disproportionately rural, where one out of every three children faces food insecurity.


“We have seen hunger and food insecurity increase in rural areas over the past decade,”said Alan Wessler, D.V.M., MFC chairman. “Some things are out of our control. We can’t control the economy. We can’t create rapid recoveries for rural communities who have suffered economic setbacks. However, we can join together as an agricultural community to do what agriculture does best-feed people. That’s why Missouri Farmers Care, with its more than 45 member organizations, is leading the way with Drive to Feed Kids.”


Events of the 2018 Drive to Feed Kids will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, in conjunction with the Missouri FFA’s Food Insecurity Day when hundreds of FFA members from across Missouri will work side by side to package 100,000 meals. The Drive will culminate on Saturday, Aug. 18, with a check presentation to Feeding Missouri during the Cole Swindell/Raelynn concert at the Fair.

Missouri Farmers Care encourages companies and individuals to participate in the Drive to Feed Kids by becoming a sponsor. If you would like to partner with MFC to benefit the Drive to Feed Kids, contact Ashley McCarty, MFC executive director, at Individual donations can be directed to All proceeds will be dedicated to Feeding Missouri network food banks who work daily to alleviate against childhood hunger.

To learn more about Drive to Feed Kids, visit

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Missouri FFA Sponsors Missouri FFA Public Speaking Academy on UCM Campus

Sixty-six FFA members from across the state participated in the Missouri FFA Public Speaking Academy held June 5-7, 2018 on the University of Central Missouri campus.


The Missouri FFA, along with Case IH, made it possible for FFA members to benefit from the professional staff at University of Central Missouri.


During the three-day event, FFA members used the Internet and other communication technology to develop and refine an effective speech.  Dr. Terry Cunconan, Dr. Wendy Geiger, Dr. Sam Cox, and Dr. Nikki Freeman from the University’s Speech Communication Department conducted the three days of intense learning.  The academy was designed to help FFA members increase their confidence, develop organizational skills, use language effectively, analyze audiences and improve speaking skills by judging themselves honestly and critically — while keeping a positive attitude.  Each student presented his or her speech in competition at the conclusion of the academy.


Awards were presented at a banquet held at the Ozark Room of the University Conference Center on Thursday, June 7, 2018.  The banquet included the presentation of certificates of completion to each of the participants and recognition of the winners in each division.  The finalists in each division (Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced) were presented plaques and a State Public Speaking Pin from the Missouri FFA Association. Case IH was the primary sponsor

for this year’s academy.  The academy was also sponsored by Seitz Fundraising, Harmison’s Hometown Fundraising, University of Central Missouri Communications Department and UCM’s Ag Club, and the Missouri FFA Association.


Assisting with the three-day conference were State FFA Officers –Allie Lock, State Vice President of the Carrollton FFA Chapter, Andi Montgomery, State Vice President of the Everton FFA Chapter, Regan Ragsdale State Secretary of the Paris FF


A Chapter, and Hannah Viets, State Vice President of the Sweet Springs FFA Chapter.  Jessie Peterson

served as a valuable intern for the event.  The Conference Coordinator for the academy is Marie Davis, Northeast District Supervisor for Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Education in Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The Missouri FFA has 25,375 members representing 343 chapters. The National FFA Organization has more than 653,000 members representing 8,568 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


The FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

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