Monday, February 17, 2014

What is an FFA member?

An FFA member is someone who wears an out of style jacket that is not only their most prized article of clothing - it's part of their identity. An FFA member is someone who wakes up early to feed their calves and stays up late making sure their lambs are all well cared for. On an average school day in the spring you will most likely find them in the ag room of their high school skipping lunch to practice for an upcoming contest.

You might notice an FFA member on the street from a few different things: Their composed walk, confident look, bright smile and a slight aroma of hog manure.

FFA members are known for: Interviewing exceptionally well, being goal driven, achieving the SMART goals they set, failing but moving on without loss of enthusiasm and understanding the importance of Robert's Rules of Order.

FFA members are excited when: Their name is called to walk across the stage, they learn a new plant disease, livestock fact or industry term;  their animal is adorned with a Grand Champion ribbon, their pants are finally starched or they find the perfect black skirt/white shirt combination, and pretty much any kind of practice with practical application. Practices like welding and metal art, keeping an accurate record book and budget, fundraising, being decisive, prioritizing, networking, volunteering, encouraging others and riding in vans across the US just to test a new kind of soil or look at a fancy heifer.

FFA members are young with a bright future but that doesn't mean they don't worry about: sustainable agriculture, feeding the world with less land than ever before, a nation that needs more leaders and meetings that take up chore time.

Some of the issues FFA members find controversial include: Urban sprawl, the price of fuel, international agricultural relations and that's only the start.

FFA members are known for figuring things out before the average person. Things like: The career they'd like to pursue, a business they'll start, policy issues that they will spend their life supporting or attempting to repeal, better days come through better ways, what their budget should reflect and what kind of character they want to epitomize.

When they grow up, and even while they're  young FFA members are: Heads of companies, running the family ranch with a new outlook, community leaders, honorers of past generations, patriots, well respected, elected officials, mentors with a kind hand to help anyone who needs it.

They're America's future dressed up to present a creed that they live daily. They are high school kids with a second life. They are small and tall and talkative and quiet. They step up, stand out, turn heads and offer great ideas. They are moralistic, optimistic and futuristic. They understand a faith born not of words but of deeds. They are a pair of bog boots and a Carhart coat with a scotch cap at a city meeting. They are the beacon that's shined in our nation since 1928 and will continue to shine as long as we validate their mission. They are agriculture's future and they are America's future, they're a member of the FFA.

- Trinity Lewis

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