I work on my family’s Simmental and Red Angus cattle farm where we produce seedstock by artificial breeding to produce top-of-the-line purebred cattle. We sell the cattle to cow-calf operations or retain them as herd replacements. I show the family’s cattle across the Midwest. I also manage the farm’s social media platforms and have had a key role in our nationwide sales.
I oversee an Instagram account called Ag in Action. This platform assists me in sharing agriculture in a way that allows people to see the good, the bad and the ugly. The brand is a balance between a blog and an avocation platform that allows me to share my story with members, fellow agriculturalists and people of our nation.
I am a teacher’s assistant for an agriculture science and technology introduction class. In the class I work with my advisor to help students learn and grow in agriculture. I work with middle school students by having ag recruitment days where I get to travel to their classes and talk about the great things ag has to offer them as they enter high school. I also work in the elementary school. I connect students with agriculture using fun activities or snacks that guide my lesson.
What motivated you to want to become a Missouri FFA officer?
I wanted to become a Missouri FFA Officer because I truly believe that living to serve is a life well lived. I have been fortunate enough to have been impacted by state officers from the time I was a Greenhand all the way until I ran for state office. I remember at a conference my senior year, someone asked me, “What will your legacy be?” This stuck with me through the remainder of my senior year and guided me to the state office. The opportunity to give back and serve an organization that made me into the person I am today is the most humbling experience I have had yet, and I am honored to have the opportunity to continue my FFA career in such a way.
Who is your hero and why?
My hero is someone that has had an impact on my life from the moment I was born. He is the type of person to never miss a birthday, scream ‘I love you’ before hanging up the phone, and was my first ag teacher far before I entered school. My grandpa, Milton Jung, has been my hero throughout my life. He was born into a big family where money was tight and from an early age had to fight for what he wanted. Despite these hardships he persevered. He earned a football scholarship to Southern Illinois University, and often reminds me of how without football he wouldn’t have gone to college. He lived off of $1 a week during those four years and earned his degree in agriculture education. He fell in love, got married, got a job, had three sons, and built a farm. His life was perfect, that is until he was suddenly a single father in charge of an FFA Chapter, a football team, and a wrestling team. He wasn’t perfect but he gave my father and uncles the best life that he could and shaped them into the people they are today. I grew up with him constantly telling me the FFA motto, in particular the living to serve line. He taught agriculture for 35 years and never missed a day because he knew it would be a day where he wasn’t serving his students. He taught me that no matter what life throws at you, push through. Never give up, love as hard as you can, and always live a life that allows you to serve others.
What are your plans for the future?
After high school, I plan to attend Missouri State University in Springfield to earn my degree in agriculture education. I aspire to be a high school agriculture instructor and FFA Advisor. I am entering agriculture education in hopes of having the same impact on students that my grandfather did before me. I hope I can leave an impact on students that drives them to be the best they can and appreciate and advocate for agriculture throughout their lives.
What is something unique or interesting that few people know about you?
A unique thing about me that very few people know is that when I’m not in a corduroy jacket, I’m on the basketball court helping younger kids fall in love with the sport. I played basketball for 12 years and was blessed to have been able to learn everything I did from the sport. Now that I have completed my time playing the sport, I invest in others by helping mold future players into being better athletes.
Advice to FFA Members
My advice to FFA members is to take in every moment and truly absorb the opportunities that you have been given. While my freshman year wasn’t that long ago, those memories truly do guide me through my final year of chapter membership. I encourage FFA members, no matter how crazy life gets, no matter what struggle you’re going through,to take a moment and breathe. Absorb where you are, what you’re doing, the smell, the temperature, and who you’re with. It takes a few seconds to truly be present and absorb what you are doing. I promise you those few seconds in your jacket will make a huge difference on you when you’re trying to absorb your last few seconds in your jacket.