My SAE has two main parts. The first is Small Animal Production and Care. I started my own business, in which I raise and sell Australian Shepherd puppies to approved homes all over the United States. The second part is Swine Production-Entrepreneurship. My family raises and sells pigs for show and food consumption. I helped start the business and own one-fourth of it along with my dad, brother and younger sister.
What motivated you to want to become a Missouri FFA officer?
Being a Missouri FFA state officer was never really a question for me. From a young age, I remember my dad and other individuals in my family telling me I was going to be a state officer when I grew up. My dream started right then! Through the years, my reasons for wanting to be a state officer have drastically changed. Back then, and even in my early years of high school, I wanted to be one of those superheroes I saw on stage at state convention and have one of the Association jackets of my own. Now, the opportunity to serve Missouri FFA members and create relationships with each and every one of you is my driving force. I cannot wait to serve you this year and for the memories and lessons we will have in our time together!
Who is your hero and why?
My hero is my grandpa. Grandpa Perry was the type of man that never knew a stranger. He could walk into a room of people and at least half of those individuals already knew his name or would very soon. My grandpa was a very modest and humble man. He had a beautiful wife who I am so lucky to call grandma, raised his four amazing children to be strong, courageous individuals, and made a living doing what he loved: raising pigs and cattle. My grandpa was a strong Christian, and I have him to thank for the work ethic and strong morals he instilled in my father which were then passed down to me. I believe there were three main things he loved more than anything else in life: his faith, his family and his livestock. A quote you will probably hear me use a time or two this year is, “A farmer should never go into a field to cultivate a dead crop. He should concentrate on cultivating what is alive… our youth.” These very wise words came from the wisest man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. His love for agriculture, FFA and youth was undeniable in all of his actions. I know he is smiling down so proud of my accomplishments, and he is who I owe it all to.
What are your plans for the future?
My future plans are to graduate high school in the Spring of 2021. After high school, I do not know for sure what my path will be, but I do know I will be involved in agriculture the rest of my life. My two main options right now are to attend Crowder College and get my degree in nursing or attend the University of Missouri-Columbia and major in Ag Communications or Biochemistry. Wherever my future may take me, I know Missouri FFA will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will always find ways to stay involved.
What is something unique or interesting that few people know about you?
One interesting fact about me is that I absolutely LOVE fruit, but I am VERY particular about the ripeness I will eat it. Call me picky, but I call it a science! Strawberries have to be a certain color and firmness. Watermelon is SO much better with seeds but one with a big enough yellow spot on the outside has a similar taste. Cantaloupe has a very specific smell when it is perfectly ripe. There is about a two-hour window that I will eat bananas and this window is probably a day before most of the rest of you would think it was ready. Grapes and apples have to be crisp and kiwis are better slightly sour. I know, I know, I am high maintenance when it comes to fruit. You can blame it on my mom who has taught me everything I know!
Advice to FFA Members
My biggest piece of advice to you is to stay true to yourself and NEVER stop working hard to achieve your goals. There are so many big and scary things in this world, so many standards to meet, and such a high demand to be perfect. Do not lose sight of yourself just to fit into other people’s molds. You are your own, unique self for a reason! Celebrate your strengths, never let your weaknesses get in your way, and never lose sight of who you are and where you came from. Never let your fear be bigger than your faith, go climb your mountains and achieve the impossible. I believe in you, and I know you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to! Remember, I am here as a mentor and friend and do not be afraid to reach out to me for anything at all.