Where Does Your Story Begin?

Paxton Dahmer

Paxton Dahmer – President

“Home is the place where your story begins.” Each time I enter my house, the sign in the foyer catches my eye. This simple quote serves as a constant reminder that we have the chance to write our own story, but first, we have to figure out where home is.

Fortunately for Missouri FFA members, our organization serves as our home. When we zip our jackets, we become part of a network of passionate, accepting and loving individuals that support each other through thick and thin. In my mind, and the minds of more than 25,000 other Missouri FFA members, our organization is our home. However, when we think about FFA being our home, what kind of story are we writing? Are we writing one where everyone can feel as if they are home.


This reminds me of our area barnwarming my senior year. One particular student appeared out of his comfort zone. He was watching the dance from the sidelines, avoiding interaction. At that point, my friends and I made the decision to pull him onto the dance floor. He immediately transformed from someone who hadn’t found his place to the star of the show! A seemingly simple act allowed him to not only find his home that night, but it also showed him that he had a home in our organization.


FFA members, this organization provides you with opportunity for exponential growth, However, you have to be willing to find your home and write your own story. Throughout the past year, it has been a true honor to watch you begin finding your home and writing your stories. I look forward to the opportunity to continue watching you blossom into passionate advocates for our organization and industry. Thank you for a great year!

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Leave Your Mark on Others

Regan Ragsdale

Regan Ragsdale – Secretary

“Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch.” – Judy Blume


Hello, April! Spring has seemingly sprung so quickly, and I could not be happier. April means many things: blooming flowers, sandal weather, celebrating holidays like Easter, and most excitingly – the Missouri FFA State Convention!


In a fast two-day convention, Missouri FFA members travel from across the Show-Me state to reconnect with old friends, exemplify the work they’ve done all spring, and have one of the best weekends of their life.


The rumble and roar of convention can be exciting and intimidating. For many, it is easy to be caught up in the competition of Career Development and Leadership Development Events. Thinking about the culmination of all your hard work can sometimes be overwhelming. It is also easy to be worried about being the best you can possibly be – trust me, I’ve been there.


When going to convention, rather than worrying about the titles you could win or all the things you could see, think about the lives you could be touching. The Missouri FFA State Convention is the best place you could be to meet new and old friends in Missouri FFA. My all-time favorite FFA memories are in the Hearnes Center with the greatest friends I could ask for. The things in Hearnes that I remember are not standing on stage; it’s the times with my friends walking through the Career Show or when I was standing on the floor of Hearnes seeing friends I had met at HYPE.


The people at the Missouri FFA State Convention are the reason it is such a magical event. Take advantage of the opportunity to see an old friend from FFA Camp or meet a new friend in the Career Show. The people you see at Missouri FFA State Convention will leave a mark on your life – take a moment to leave a mark on theirs.


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Will You Achieve Your Goals?

Hannah Viets

Hannah Viets – VP

“Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there” – Bo Jackson


Many of us set goals at the beginning of the year to help ourselves succeed. Some of our goals might have been to make it to state in a contest, run for an officer position, or even get good grades. As the year has flown by, I cannot help but look back on my year as a state officer and think about what my goal was when I was elected.


My number one goal when I was elected was to impact the life of at least one FFA member. At FFA camp, I met this wonderful young girl who was very shy and didn’t really want to talk all that much and feared public speaking. As I kept talking with her, I realized that we had so much in common, and we became good friends. After that week, she messaged me over social media and thanked me for believing in her. Four months later, she messaged me and we talked about how she achieved her own goal, competing in and public speaking event and winning.


That was the moment I realized I had changed that young girl’s life. I had reached my goal as a state officer. I realized, then, I could push my goal farther. FFA members, as we near the end of our high school days for the year, let us keep in mind our goals that we set for ourselves when the school year began just a few months ago. Whether big or small, let us keeping pushing to achieve those goals. I achieved my goal for the year, will you?

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Power Throw

Ryan Siegel

Ryan Siegel – VP

It was the 2016 Summer Olympics, and I was sitting on my couch watching the snippets of the throwing events. As the shot-putters and discus throwers threw unfathomable distances, I was determined to try track and field, more emphasis on field, during my junior year of high school.


Fast forward to spring 2017. The first day of practice came around, and I found myself running laps around our school. “What is this,” I thought. I signed up to throw shot put and discus, not run the mile. As the season progressed, I slowly realized the importance of running was to bring up my agility and speed when throwing.


At my first track meet, my coach told me I was going to do a half spin when throwing discus and glide when I was throwing shot put. And let me tell you, I did awful — 20 feet worse on discus than in practice and 5 feet worse on shot put! This was due to one thing — the technique. You see, I wasn’t comfortable with it. It didn’t fit the way I threw, and I had little practice with the techniques I used. Although I wasn’t doing the greatest, I didn’t want to just power throw. I didn’t want to be different from everyone else. I wanted so badly to be successful with the technique. However, during my senior year I realized it didn’t matter. If I didn’t use technique and just threw, I was successful.


FFA members, throughout our FFA careers we must be willing to try new techniques, ideas, contests and opportunities. Still, we won’t always be the best. Sometimes by realizing where we fall in technique we can realize what needs work and build on our skills. Try something new, push yourself, grow from your failures, but never be afraid to just throw.

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Be a Donut

Audrey Martin

Audrey Martin – VP

Doughnuts. No, I am not referring to the pastries, but rather to the spare tire that comes with your car — the one that looks like it belongs on a bicycle. I recently had a flat tire and had to get it fixed. To get my tire repaired, I had to put the doughnut on my car so that I could get to the tire shop. When I say, “I had to change my tire,”I really mean supervise while a couple of the other state officers actually changed it. After the doughnut was on, we headed to the tire shop. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t drive more than 50 miles per hour with the spare. Therefore, I carefully drove to the shop and eventually got my new tire.


While most people would look at the doughnut and think that it’s useless, ultimately, that doughnut is what gets you from having a stationary car to one that can hit the road. Many of you are participating on Career Development or Leadership Development Event teams right now. Some of you have been dreaming of being on the team you are on right now, while some of you feel the exact opposite. You might be the youngest one on your team, you might have needed to switch teams last minute, or maybe you are repeatedly the drop score for your team, but that’s okay. We all feel like doughnuts sometimes. Often, you are the one that makes a difference for your team. You are the one who will work hard, keep your head down and at the end of the day be the one who pushes your team to advance to state, break a record or place one rank higher than last week. Without you, your team would be stationary. With you, though, your team can transform into something you never imagined.


When a car has a flat, the doughnut becomes the most important tire. And when your teams face obstacles, you can be the most influential member.

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Letting Competition Get The Best of Us

Chloe Momphard

Chloe Momphard – VP

With Career Development Events and Leadership Development events well under way, it is easy to focus on what went well or what we could have done better this season. While self-reflection is a good technique for improving and working to better ourselves, we should also take a step back to understand that the goal of contests is growth.

Don’t get me wrong. I like winning, but it’s not always in moments of success that we develop or grow. During my sophomore year of high school, I was competing on the agricultural issues team. Our team placed first at area and then as alternate at districts. Needless to say, I was heartbroken because our goal of competing at state had come to an abrupt end. I quickly began exploring other options and landed on submitting a research project (in partnership with one of my Ag Issues teammates) within Agriscience Research – Animal Systems examining different types of filler feeds.  With our agri-science project, we placed first at state, applied to go to nationals and placed second overall!

It would have been very easy to take the loss and end my contest season.  Instead, I used it as a chance to learn, and then move forward to seek additional opportunities. During this project, I learned that I enjoyed and respected research so much that I am looking to pursue it in college. Sometimes, it is the less-than-stellar moments that help us most in the long run!

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Commit To The Pour

Hattie Grisham – VP

Filling a petri dish wouldn’t seem to be the hardest task. However, with no prior information on how to properly fill them, you are more than likely to make a mess. This is a lesson I learned the hard way.

One afternoon while filling practice petri dishes for an end-of-the-year chemistry project, I created a giant mess. The substance you pour in, agar mixture, has a very runny substance but also sets up very quickly, requiring speedy pouring. I had prepped my mixture, petri dishes and was ready to go! I began the process.

Plate one — a little full, but okay.

Plate two — not enough mixture, but these were just practice plates.

Plate three — only the slightest bit of mixture made it in, and the rest went all over the table.

I quickly scrambled to move the empty dishes and begin cleaning up the mess. After helping me, Mrs. O’Donnell, my chemistry teacher, told me, “You have to commit to the pour!” As a result of being hesitant to mess up the pouring, scared to commit and be confident in my abilities, I created the mess I hoped to avoid.

As my friends and I continued throughout the rest of senior year, we often joked about “committing to the pour” in various situations. However, I believe this simple science lesson can apply to us all. As we enter the grind of contest season, it is easy to not want to step outside of our comfort zone, doubt our abilities, or not give our all due to other involvements. In these instances though, our true character is revealed. In all you do, commit to the pour.

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Celebrate the Failures

McKenzie Loftis

McKenzie Loftis – VP

“Every failurebrings with it the seedof an equivalent success.”
– Napolean Hill

During my time in the blue jacket, I have had the pleasure of competing in many Career Development  and Leadership Development Events. Every year I learned a new key component of agriculture, traveled to some really awesome places, and learned some very intense lessons about myself. It’s interesting in that looking back, I remember the wins, the insane celebrations and joy they brought. In reflection, the losses seem more vivid than the wins, though. I can still tell you the primary reason for not winning state my freshman year in poultry; it was because of a missing breast meat in a carcass class that I didn’t see. Although that failure hurt, it wasn’t final. I had many more opportunities to succeed and used it as a seed. As you enter the spring season of competing, I hope that you learn as much as possible about the area you choose to pursue. Still, do not forget along the way that this is teaching you more than just knowledge and skill. This season of your life is showing you how much dedication, heart and drive you possess. Enjoy the early mornings and the relationships you build with your teammates. Take chances, learn from failures and mistakes, and celebrate the joys of successes. Best of luck this spring!

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Create Your Legacy

Madelyn Derks

Madelyn Derks – VP

Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States with the purchase of Louisiana.


Abraham Lincoln freed slaves.


Dwight D. Eisenhower ended segregation in schools and the military.


All presidents of the United State of America, these American icons created a legacy for themselves and changed our nation in a way that is remembered and evident to this day.


In school I always dragged my feet on the way to history class. It was always my least favorite class due to all the dates, names and events that I had to memorize and pronounce. My history teacher, Mr. Jenkins, would always yell at me, “Smile a little more, Derks!” I would respond with a sassy half smile and an eye roll as I took my seat. But, what I quickly learned is that history doesn’t go away as we graduate high school or finish a class; in fact, it followed me all the way to my agricultural education class.


In 1928, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) was organized in Kansas City, Missouri.


In 1933, the blue corduroy jacket was adopted as the official dress for the FFA.


In 1969, women were allowed to be members of FFA.


History is a valuable part of who we are and where we come from. Whether in the form of a president’s legacy or the roots of the National FFA Organization, history is remembered for years to come.


So I want to ask you, what will your legacy be? How will you be remembered?


Do you want to be remembered as someone who sat on the sidelines, afraid to try something new?  Or, do you want to be remembered as the person who reached his or her goals? Opportunities abound for us in the next few months. From participating in a career development event or a leadership development event to applying for awards and academies and attending State FFA Convention, we have so many activities and opportunities to take part in through FFA. We have the ability to build our legacy into anything we want. Our legacies don’t have to be as grand as the forefathers of our country, but they can be just as powerful with simple acts like talking to the new kid at school, running for an officer position, or volunteering to stay after and help clean up the classroom. The decisions and choices that we make every single day affect our legacy. It affects how we are remembered.


So right now, let’s take out a piece a paper and write down three goals or things we want to accomplish. How can those words be turned into actions that will positively define our legacy?


FFA members, you are destined for greatness. Each one of us has a unique and powerful legacy that is just waiting for us to initiate. It is our jobs to shine a light on who we are and what we stand for. Don’t be afraid of yours, because even the smallest of actions turns into the greatest of impacts.


Missouri FFA members, you don’t have to wait to cultivate tomorrow. Make it happen today. Do it now, and grow your legacy!

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Enjoy the Blue Corduroy

Allie Lock – VP

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. As I sat in the middle of my geometry class my sophomore year of high school, the day seemed to be dragging on and on. That day in particular was smack dab in the middle of National FFA Week, and at my school we had themes for each day. It was Official Dress Day, so that morning after ripping two pairs of pantyhose, I finally got suited up in my full official dress. As my teacher stood in front of the class saying something about triangles, all I could think about was how I could not wait until I got out of my blue corduroy jacket.


Now, three years later, I would give almost anything to go back to my sophomore year and relive all of my blue corduroy jacket memories. We are at the point in the year where school starts seeming hectic. Between snow days and school days, you might feel the pressure to get things done as quickly as possible. With tests, career development events, trips and homework, I’m sure you can’t wait for time to fly by. I know I used to wish the exact same thing. But as you participate in this year’s National FFA Week, take a moment to let time stand still. Enjoy FFA week and everything it has to offer. Soak it in. Because one day, you’ll be taking off your blue corduroy jacket for the final time.

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