Kraysen Leonard, Vice President

VICE PRESIDENT 2021-2022

Email Kraysen Leonard
CHAPTER

El Dorado Springs FFA

HOMETOWN

El Dorado Springs, Missouri

COLLEGE

University of Missouri – Columbia

MAJOR

Agriculture Education Communications and Leadership

Leonard,-Kraysen
SAE Project

I developed a social media and agriculture education platform presence titled “Kraysen and the Kiddos: Ag 101” to enlighten the youth in my community about my favorite topic of agriculture. During Covid-19 quarantine I had a lot of extra time on my hands so I became somewhat of a zookeeper. I first started by sharing videos of farm animals, posting interesting facts, and sharing outdoor activities. I wanted to do more, so I connected with the summer school staff and brought my farm animals to school! My goal was not to be famous but to bring some joy to the faces of kids and provide a sense of belonging that had been stripped away during the quarantine. The reaction to my Facebook posts showed me how important my community is. Social distancing has been very hard on everyone, especially kids, but it took a worldwide pandemic to prove how important my community is to our daily lives.

I also own and operate my own business called “Miss Poozies Smoked Beef Sticks,” which allows me to raise, sell and process my own beef sticks from farm to table and market them throughout southwest Missouri. Additionally, I have a small cow-calf operation.

What motivated you to want to become a Missouri FFA officer?

My father is a retired ag teacher, and I grew up listening to stories about convention trips, shop projects and FFA members who found success during their journey in the organization. I was attending a private school that did not offer an agriculture program, so I made the best decision of my life to transfer to the public school to start my own FFA story. I was hooked on those stories of young members guided to become a state officer. I knew that exact moment entering the Agriculture building that I wanted that same story. I was ready to start my pursuit for state office. Being an only child, I was yearning for that sense of belonging and support that usually comes with siblings. I found all of that within the FFA and made it my mission to create that companionship, support and belonging for other members. As a freshman and even as a senior, I look up to the state officers as mentors, anxiously following in their footsteps of leadership and servanthood. I want to continue that same sense of mentorship to members across the state that I have started at the chapter and area level. I didn’t realize how important one voice could be until Missouri FFA showed me the impact of one. Throughout this past crazy year, I have been able to advocate for agriculture more than ever. I created a social media platform to give a positive look at agriculture. My goal is to help other FFA members find their passion and push them toward their goals. That is how agriculture continues to improve, leaders pushing others to be better every day.

Who is your hero and why?

I tore my meniscus in my left knee twice. Within nine months, I endured two surgeries, many days of physical therapy and was placed on crutches for nearly a year. No one understood the physical and emotional stress the experience caused me. I began my sophomore year of high school on crutches and was stuck in the school library to do my school work. I was too embarrassed to eat in the cafeteria. I was so depressed and my mom watched as her bubbly, happy-go-lucky, optimistic girl spiral downward. Some people may not have noticed what I went through and others saw every red flag. My family was the only close friend I had during this hard chapter of my life. I watched my mom give up her plans just to stay with me. She put on a smile every morning even though it was so hard to watch her daughter go through this process. My mother has always gone out of her way and above and beyond to make sure I had everything I wanted. She has stood by my side since day one and always will continue to push me to be the very best I can be. I am very blessed to be able to call her my mother and best friend. And she has left an everlasting impact on my life because of everything she did during that struggle of my life. 

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to attend the University of Missouri and major in Agricultural Communications with a minor in Policy. I plan to obtain my master’s in Agricultural Communications and then attend the University of Missouri’s School of Law. I aspire to become an Agricultural-based lawyer and one day own and operate my own law firm.

Agriculture is a big part of my life and I love being able to use my voice to advocate for the mental health of farmers. I plan to work on an undergraduate research program with Dr. Mott in August on the “Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network.” This program is used to support projects that provide stress assistance for people in farming, ranching, and other agriculture-related occupations and offers a conduit to improving behavioral health awareness, literacy, and more favorable outcomes for them and their families. I am very excited to be working with them and start this project this fall.

What is something unique or interesting that few people know about you?

Something interesting that only a couple of people know about me is that I am obsessed with playing Clash of Clans and I take it very seriously.

Advice to FFA Members

My advice to FFA members is to always remember your WHY? Remember why you joined. Because you loved it? Because you wanted to advocate? Because you wanted to be all about the blue and gold? You don’t have to win all the competitions, it’s about the knowledge you learn, the friends you make and the experience you gain. Don’t stress yourself out and make yourself miserable trying to do it all at once. Enjoy your time in the blue corduroy, make connections and remember the memories.