My SAE consists of diversified crops and livestock. I work placement on our family operation, Mineral Valley Farms, where we raise cattle, hogs, soybeans, corn, and wheat. Personally, I own a small herd of Simmental cattle and raise around 150 hogs annually.
What motivated you to want to become a Missouri FFA officer?
My freshman year I was extremely quiet and shy. Talking to people absolutely terrified me. If someone tried to start a conversation with me, I would most likely make an excuse, walk away and not come back. When I joined FFA I vowed to never do public speaking. Long story short, I ended up participating in fall public speaking my freshman year. I survived the area round and made it to the district speaking contest. Not only did this contest show me it was possible to step out of my comfort zone and survive, but it is where I met state officer Beth Knipp. Beth talked to me about the true meaning behind FFA, how it not only allows members to grow, but also to use skills that can help grow those around you as well. Beth went on to talk about the impact FFA had on her and how serving as a state officer allowed her to pass on those experiences. At that moment, I knew I wanted to be a state FFA officer. I took advantage of every opportunity to keep learning and growing so one day I would be able to motivate and inspire youth in agriculture the same way Beth inspired me.
Who is your hero and why?
My hero is my great grandpa, Alvin Oscar Kleiboeker. My great grandpa passed away at the prime age of 99 years when I was in fourth grade, but he has made a forever impact on my life. He was one of the hardest working people I knew. He dropped out of school in third grade to work on the family farm, he eventually got married and created a beautiful family. Despite the struggles life threw at him, my great grandpa continued to move forward and stay positive knowing God had a plan. My great grandpa made sure he gave his best to every job he did. He taught us the importance of integrity and tenacity. He made sure everyone who stopped by the farm left with a smile on his or her face, knowing they were loved. His passion for agriculture was inspiring, and he instilled that passion in me and my entire family. In my eyes, my great grandpa represents everything I hope to be — an honest, hardworking, loving member of my community.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to attend the University of Missouri to major in animal science. I hope to eventually obtain a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. Throughout my education I would love to take advantage of internships and study abroad programs that allow me to travel and learn different methods of medicine across the country. Eventually, I would like to settle down in a rural community to practice large animal medicine. Overall, I want to be the helping hand for farmers in their time of need.
What is something unique or interesting that few people know about you?
Something unique about me is that I have a penpal named Larissa who lives in Nebraska. We have been writing to each other for five years now. We are very similar to each other, specifically we both have all brothers, our families both raise hogs, we attended a Lutheran school, and are both very active in FFA. It has been a great experience getting to know someone through letters who lives hours away. I am so blessed to have met Larissa and know she is just a letter away anytime I need to talk about absolutely anything.
Advice to FFA Members
“There is no growth in your comfort zone, and no comfort in your growth zone.” This is a quote that I have lived by throughout my FFA career. There are times I was terrified to try something new, however when I took chances I found the greatest learning opportunities. Every single day, at every FFA event you go to, and the rest of your life, you will have two choices — stay where you are comfortable, or grasp new opportunities. I would never have made it as far as I am today if I had not dared to take that leap out of my comfort zone to find my growth. FFA members, do not be afraid to take that leap, because as soon as you do you will find you have more potential inside of you than you ever thought possible.