5 Amazing Opportunities FFA has Offered Me
Herman Roberts, Preston FFA
From my Freshmen year until now, I have been a member of the National FFA Organization. I cannot begin to express the amount of gratitude I have towards this program and the various opportunities I have received from my participation. These are just a few things I’ve come to love out of the endless list of opportunities the FFA has to offer.
1. Academic Competitions
One of the keystones of the FFA, and what I believe is one of the most exciting and enjoyable parts, are the competitions. Otherwise known as CDE’s and LDE’s, these contests offer members a fun way to prove what they know about specific items in agriculture. My Freshmen year, I remember memorizing the FFA creed and presenting it at the state level. Into my Sophomore year, I remember the extreme happiness when my Soil and Land Judging team finally won the state championship. From Food Science to Dairy Judging to Parliamentary Procedure, I’ve gained so many life skills from these experiences that I can utilize after high school, including: public speaking, communication, decision-making, teamwork, etc. These events are truly one of the reasons why I have such a passion for the FFA organization.
2. Strong Friendships
My favorite part of the FFA program is the chance to meet new people! I have made so many close friendships with other students my age from across the entire state. From Troy to Jerome to Madison, I can’t believe the amount of people I’ve been able to meet and form a personal connection with. Honestly, I love meeting other members and finding common interests, whether that be FFA related or not. District Officer Training was probably the best trip I’ve been on this year so far! I had the opportunity to meet other district officers from the various districts across Idaho. It was great to see the transition of the members from absolute strangers to close friends. It’s the best feeling watching other people get to know each other. If any of you see me at State Leadership Conference, Moscow State CDE’s, or anywhere else, feel free to come up and talk to me!
The travel opportunities that come out of FFA are limitless. I’ve spent time in California, Indiana, and Oklahoma and visited major cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, and Dallas. I am so thankful for the places I’ve been able to visit and all the new experiences I’ve gained and new things I’ve learned along the way. The agricultural industry is so broad and diverse, and it’s awesome to see how it varies from place to place. One of my favorite trips is going to the annual National FFA Convention and Expo. Once you’re able to walk past thousands of other blue jackets, it really puts things into a different perspective. I’ve realized that the organization is bigger than myself, but that it doesn’t mean I can’t make an impact.
4. Direct Connection to Agriculture
Agriculture is one of the largest and most important industries in the nation. The fact that the FFA offers high school kids the chance to be connected to it is incredible. Kids are taught that ag isn’t just farming. Ag is business, it’s biotechnology, it’s engineering. There is a place for everyone in the industry, and FFA members are able to successfully pursue a career with the information they’ve learned and the skills they’ve gained from their membership. I’ve grown up on a dairy farm and through my firsthand experience of being a farmer, I can say I have grown to appreciate agriculture, and through FFA, I’m proud to represent it.
5. Personal Development
Finally, I cannot begin to say how much the National FFA Organization has impacted me on a personal level. I have changed so much from the person I was when I started high school to the person I am today, and that’s all thanks to the FFA. Through officer positions and being involved at a chapter, district, and state level, I’ve become a better version of myself. I’ve gained confidence, social skills, a willingness to try new things, and a sense of belonging. Ultimately, the FFA gave me my purpose.
FFA is the best thing that’s come into my life. I’m extremely grateful for this extraordinary organization and I don’t know where I would be without it. I’m pumped to continue being involved in the Idaho FFA Association in my last year of high school.