My SAE includes vegetable gardening of tomatoes and watermelons, placement crop production for Schuster Farms, LLC, and food service as banquet server at Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville.
What motivated you to want to become a Missouri FFA officer?
When I graduated eighth grade, I was an extremely shy and introverted kid. The idea of meeting new people terrified me, and this was right before I was going to switch to a new school district, full of kids I hadn’t ever seen. I had enrolled in agriculture education, mostly just because my dad told me I should, and that was the single best decision I made in high school. I grew more through FFA and ag education than I did through any other experience, program or organization. Through public speaking, officer teams, contests, conventions, academies and interactions with other members, I became the person I am today. I was motivated to become a Missouri FFA Officer because I want to give something back to the people and the organization that have given me so much. I want to be able to be the friend that boosts a member’s confidence, that encourages them to go for that officer position, or just helps someone to be a little less shy.
Who is your hero and why?
My hero is my grandpa. He works on our family farm with his son (my dad), his brother, and his nephew, putting crops in the ground and tending to the cattle. He grew up very poor, a middle child in a large extended family. I remember him and my grandma telling stories about when he grew up and what it was like when they first met. Let me tell you, they were rough. He had to work for everything he got in life. He pushed through high school and enlisted in the Navy as soon as he graduated. After he got back, he met my grandma and started the farm that we still live and work on today. He overcame a lot of social anxiety as he matured into his 30s and 40s and became one of the most well-liked and respected farmers in our area. He made sure all three of his kids got a college education and still works just as hard today as he did 50 years ago. Most importantly, he works for others and not himself. There were times in his life that he wasn’t entirely sure how food would get on the table for his wife and kids, but he always buckled down, worked harder, and found a way. His life is my best example of a life well-lived by working hard for others.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia in four years. Right now, I am not sure what career path I will take, so I hope my interactions with my professors and experiences in my classes will help to determine that.
What is something unique or interesting that few people know about you?
Nearly two years ago, I started collecting interesting pairs of socks from wherever I could buy them. It started just a few at a time when they were on sale or I could get a good deal on them, but I now own over 30 pairs of fun socks that have everything from campfires to aliens to foosball on them.
Advice to FFA Members
Quite often, I had the goal of placing first in a speaking competition in FFA. I never really had a problem with getting the speech written, but the hard part came when it was time to memorize and practice it. As I’m sure all of us do, I would say I had more urgent things to do and I’d get to it later, or that I was enjoying some well-deserved down time. The latter was used quite often, especially when watching hours upon hours of YouTube videos. The problem is that it sucked huge amounts of my time in what felt like mere moments. The root cause of my problem was that I could not control my ability to pay attention. Your attention is one of the most valuable things you possess. Where you spend it is one of the most telling things about you. It can give you the motivation to reach your goals or distract you from ever getting started. I now think of my attention as a form of currency.It is going to be spent, but I can decide what I will focus it on and where it will be spent. My advice is to learn to control where you spend your attention. If you can learn to focus your attention on what will help you reach your goals, nothing will stand in the way of achieving them.