How FFA Developed My Love for Agriculture
My journey through FFA isn’t your typical “ag kid” story, I did not have an agriculture background or experience until I joined my middle school’s FFA chapter and remained a very active member throughout high school. Before FFA, I was a meek and shy student who never raised their hand, spoke up, or volunteered for anything. During my time in my high school’s FFA chapter, I was able to grow and thrive by trying out new competitions like Livestock Judging, Parliamentary Procedure, Employment Skills, and I was even on my school’s lamb showing team! I won first place with my lamb… once, but that’s beside the point. I started running for chapter officer positions my freshman year and eventually became my chapters President and the Appalachian Area FFA’s chapter President my senior year. FFA granted me endless opportunities that I can confidently say helped me become the woman I am today. FFA is more than just learning about farming and flowers - even though that is an important and fun part - it is learning true information about agriculture, accepting responsibility, developing your work ethic, challenging yourself, and serving those around you to the best of your ability.
Through the FFA, I was pushed to my full potential - sometimes a potential I didn’t even know I had! There were many days prepping for competitions, events, and community outreach activities that were tough and challenging but so rewarding to not only me but other FFA members and our community. And if you’re an FFA member reading this - run and thank your advisors for everything they are doing for you, I wouldn’t be who I am without mine! When I began my senior year of high school, I knew that I did not want to give FFA up when the year came to an end, I knew I had a lot left to give. I was blessed to be able to serve as one of the 2020-2021 Virginia FFA State Vice Presidents. During my year of service, I traveled the state with my eight amazing teammates, working with middle and high school FFA members teaching them about premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through workshops, competitions, volunteer events, and more within the FFA. My year of service not only taught me how to operate on less than four hours of sleep and one, yes one, cup of coffee but most importantly it humbled me and taught me the impact of FFA and agriculture is everywhere you go - the grocery store, young and curious students, the classroom, and that ever so famous, blue corduroy jacket.
This past summer I finished up my year of service as one of Virginia FFA’s State Vice Presidents and even though I can share so many experiences with you, I want to focus on the one that changed my life and will eventually, if not already, change yours. These FFA members leading the next generation are a light amidst the darkness and unknown in this world, they will change this world, they will remind you of the importance of agriculture and they will make you proud to be a supporter of the FFA. Virginia FFA members changed me, shaped me, and inspired me to pursue agriculture education - they were my saving grace when I needed it the most. When you support an FFA kiddo, you are supporting the next agriculturalist, FFA advisor, lawyer, doctor, welder, and a student like me that just needed a chance. If you’re struggling to find some hope in this world, sit and talk with an FFA member - your perspective will change and your hope will be renewed. Not even the challenge of a worldwide pandemic will stop them. These young adults have grit, grace, and a work ethic you will not find anywhere else, they will make you proud. Most importantly, they will inspire you just like they did me.
Every so often, I have the opportunity to head back to my roots and help with an FFA competition, workshop, or volunteer with Ag in the Classroom. Though my year of service has come to an end, my love for agriculture education has not. Next year, I plan to attend Virginia Tech to further my education and became an agriculture educator or FFA advisor. I will be forever grateful for the impact that the National FFA Organization has made in my life and I hope to share that with so many others. Support your local FFA members because they are working hard to ensure the success of FFA and agriculture of the future for you, me, and generations to come.
Author: Madeline Moore, Virginia FFA State Vice President, 2020-2021