The Biggest Lesson FFA Has Taught Me

All of us have learned from our time in the FFA. Some have learned to judge cows or speak in front of people. We’ve all gained knowledge that we didn’t have before.For some of us though the biggest lessons that we have learned aren’t what we are tested on or we use in a competition, the lessons that help us in life. This is the biggest lesson FFA has taught me.

 

The school year has either started, or we are counting down the days. This means that binge watching season is for the most part over. Grey’s Anatomy, 13 Reasons Why, and if you are a D.C. Fan; like me maybe The Arrowverse is what you’ve been watching. In every single one of these shows is a timeline. As we all know Newton’s third law states: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Going back to 13 Reasons Why the tapes are the reaction to what each one of the characters did to Hannah. Or any change in the past in the “Legends of Tomorrow” has an equal effect on every individual’s present and future lives.

 

Let’s think back, do you remember what you wanted to be when you were seven? Maybe you wanted to be a doctor, fireman, or a spy, but as we all know plans change. For every action we have on this earth we get an equal and opposite reaction. Whether that’s positive or negative. Most of us believe that we create our futures. Be that as it may, maybe our future is already planned for us.

 

This means that every person, place, thing, and idea we visit, see, or think of was exactly where we needed to be in that piece of our timeline. I know it sounds crazy because that’s exactly what it is. Without the certain events that happen in our lives we would never end up where we are right now. Every success, failure, and experience we have become a part of the story that changes at the least one person’s life in our future!

 

We always end up right where we are supposed to be. I wanted to be a graphic designer until my ag teacher took me to a forestry camp… then I wanted to be a forester. Let’s say that didn’t last for long. I have the next fifteen years of my life planned out all because one person walked into my life and told me “Every man must have a code and a creed to live by.” That was my ag teacher. Now I want to become an Ag Teacher and even though I’ve planned out my life. We all know that life shakes up a couple times along the way, but what’s meant to be will happen. If anything this is one of the biggest lessons FFA has taught me!

 

Haleigh Meeks

Everything Agriculture Writer

The Comfort Of A Cow Named Dudley

The story of Dudley the Hereford steer starts out at an auction house in Tennessee and a farmer. The farmer had seen that Dudley’s left back leg was wrapped in baling twine, this caused him to lose his foot. The farmer took him in and called The Gentle Barn. Dudley had gotten a second chance at life. The Gentle Barn originated in 1999 based in California but expanded their rescue to Knoxville, Tennessee just for Dudley.

 

The farmer who had rescued Dudley farmed cattle for a living. He had to keep Dudley and treated his foot with antibiotics for 10 months before they had found The Gentle Barn. He turned Dudley over to The Gentle Barn. Since he could not afford to have medical care or a prosthetic foot made. The farmer drove three hours with Dudley to a veterinary hospital. Dudley had a long road of recovery ahead.

 

Dudley had suffered tendon damage from hobbling around on 3 legs. It caused him major pain to have to walk on his amputated leg even though his main reaction was trying to use it. Dudley had to undergo surgery to fix his leg for his prosthetic which went very successfully. Afterward was a whole different story, they needed to keep Dudley laying down so he would not cause any further injury. It had taken awhile but they were also successful in that as well. They spent well over 60 hours creating a prosthetic for missing parts below his hook. At first, like all cows would, he was not all for the idea of having a prosthetic. He would kick his leg out of the hands of the handler, but eventually, he got used to his prosthetic leg. After several months of therapy, Dudley got to be a cow again. He got to run and live a fulfilled life.

 

When they finally got to pull Dudley out of the animal hospital, he was filled with joy bouncing and bucking around the field he was released into. From then on he has been able to lead a happy life. He has even gotten married! Dudley got married to a female bovine named Destiny. You can read an article about Destiny’s rescue here. To tie into my article about equine therapy, Dudley was also a therapy cow. He helped people with amputations of their own feel more confident and comfortable with it just as he was with his. Dudley was a strong young steer and very playful. Dudley visited schools, helped foster children learn more about themselves. Dudley has made a huge impact with his story and thousands love him!

 

Unfortunately, Dudley passed away when a stomach ulcer ruptured and was irreparable. The Gentle Barn staff deeply misses Dudley since he was the reason for the expansion of their operation.

 

To read more about Dudley

Dudley’s life:

http://www.gentlebarn.org/animals/stories/dudley-cow-tn

The Dudley Story:

http://www.gentlebarn.org/the-dudley-story

Dudley on USA Today:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/21/dudley-steer-prosthetic-foot-and-mascot-gentle-barn-tennessee-has-died/417901001/

Destiny’s Story:

http://www.gentlebarn.org/animals/stories/destiny-cow-tn

Cover photo:

http://www.pawmygosh.com/dudley-cow/

 

Kelcie Lynn, Everything Agriculture Writer

 

Thoughts I Never Had About FFA

We all have those things that we once had no clue about, but are now obsessed with. For some this may be a tv show or sport, for others, on the other hand, it can be a life changing organization. For me, it was The National FFA Organization. Through my time in the organization, there have been times I realized that the stuff I worried about and thought about now, I didn’t years ago. So here are a few things that I never thought about before joining.

1.The impact of FFA


Before eighth grade, I had no clue that this amazing organization even existed! Let alone what it meant, or what it would mean to me in the future. All I knew at that point is that my ag teacher was scary and that I didn’t understand how anything he was saying correlated to the class. Soon enough I figured it out after he sent me to my first camp competition two weeks later. I realized that this organization was more than farming it was going to change my life!


2. How many friends I would make


I swear I had fifteen contacts, and ten friends on snap chats before I joined FFA. Let’s just say now I have 98 contacts and 42 snap chats. Some are creed speakers I competed against, kids I have seen three days out of every year for the past four years, the BIG team we saw at EVERY competition, or maybe it’s was just that one person who thought I looked familiar! Either way, I somehow found super smart friends for life! FFA members are just so friendly you could go to any event and probably make 5 new friends.


3. How crazy I would feel


I have never walked around my kitchen counter in high heels for two hours saying the same paragraph. I have never stood in my living room and flipped pieces of paper sitting on barstools acting like it’s a judge asking me a question. Those are lies. CDE practices and rituals make us feel insane. Especially repeating the same 5 paragraphs over and over… and over. I never realized what extent I would go to for studying a subject for a competition until this organization

4.How much of a fangirl I could be


A throwback to my freshman year; we had 2 state officers come to my school. When they arrived I fan girl so hard that I asked them for their autographs on a piece of binder paper. Fun fact that paper still hangs on my wall three years later. I also became a complete stalker for two days because they came to my volleyball game and I went to basically every breakfast, lunch, and dinner with them! I was way out of hand on the fan girl radar! I still go crazy every time they are around.

5.How irritating nylons are


GIRLS!! I feel like we all have problems with nylons! There isn’t a single shade that doesn’t make you look like a porcelain doll and if you are a bigger girl like me you have multiple layers! They are the most uncomfortable and hardest things we ever have to put on! Don’t even get me started on the shoes either. Most FFA girls wear heels and I’m gonna give a warning to guys and say “If you’re ever around any girls do not say how much your feet hurt.” That’s a good way to get evil eyed and yelled at.

I’ve had the greatest time of my life in this organization and I hate that soon for me it will end. To all of you that are just starting your wonderful journey in this organization, take the time to realize how you grow and change. Realize that the things you used to think about aren’t always still what you think about.

 

-Haleigh Meeks

Everything Agriculture Writer

Click here to follow us on InstagramTwitter, and like us on Facebook

Agriculture From Coast to Coast

Agriculture: the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products. As we all know agriculture is more than farming, but it is also not just a local thing. This is a worldwide occupation, but for the purpose of this article, we will focus on the national impact. If you would like to further your knowledge click on each state you are interested in to learn more about.

Alabama–  Alabama is 2nd in broiler (poultry)  production in the nation.

Alaska– There are 762 farms in Alaska.

ArizonaYuma, Arizona is the winter lettuce capital of the world.

Arkansas– Arkansas ranks 1st in the nation in rice production.

CaliforniaCalifornia produces more than 400 animal and plant commodities annually

ColoradoThere are over 1 billion eggs laid in Colorado each year.

Connecticut– Connecticut has over 70,000 acres of land devoted to shellfish farming

Delaware– 41% of Delaware’s land is used for farming.

Florida– Florida is responsible for producing 63% of the nation’s citrus production

Georgia-One in seven Georgians works in agriculture, forestry or related fields.

Hawaii Hawaii ranks sixth in the nation for tree nut sales.

Idaho– Idaho is the #1 producer of potatoes in the nation making up 30% of the nation’s potato production.

Illinois– Illinois is the #1 producer of soybeans in the nation producing over 560,000 bushels.

Indiana – Indiana produces the most ducks in the country.

Iowa– Iowa is the #1 producer of corn in the nation producing over 2.7 billion bushels.

Kansas– Kansas is the #1 producer of wheat in the nation producing over 467 million bushels.

Kentucky– Kentucky is the #7 state in broiler chicken production, also Kentucky has a big equine industry employing over 40,000 people.

Louisiana– Louisiana is one of the top producers of sugar and rice, also Louisiana leads the country in crawfish production.

Maine– Maine leads the nation in wild blueberry production and is 2nd in maple syrup production.

Maryland– Maryland has one of the top poultry industries in the country selling over 300 million broiler chickens.

Massachusetts– Massachusetts is one of leading state of Greenhouse and Nursery.

Michigan– Michigan is one of the country’s top producers of apples, blueberries and cherries also Michigan is one of the country’s leading producers of sugar beets.

Minnesota– Minnesota is the country’s leader in sugar beet production, producing over 34% of all sugar beets of the United States. Also, Minnesota produces the most turkeys in the country.

Mississippi – Mississippi is the number one state of catfish and also one of the top states in sugarcane and rice production.

Missouri – Missouri accounts for 6% of the soybeans and rice produced in the United States.

Montana – In Montana the average ranch is over 2000 acres big.

Nebraska – In Nebraska 1 in 4 jobs are agriculture related.

Nevada – Nevada has over 5.8 million acres of ranches.

New HampshireMilk and greenhouse/nursery crops account for more than half of the state’s agricultural sales receipts.

New Jersey– New Jersey produced over 63 million pounds of bell peppers in 2016.

New Mexico- Roughly 10,000 families have cattle in New Mexico.

New York – New York had one of the most diverse agriculture industries in the country.

North Carolina -There are more pigs than people in North Carolina.

North Dakota – 90% of all land in North Dakota is used in the agriculture industry.

Ohio– Ohio is the number one producer of Swiss cheese in the country.

Oklahoma – Oklahoma is the 5th leading state for beef production.

Oregon – Oregon is the number one state for Christmas tree production.

Pennsylvania- Almost 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s farm income comes from livestock product sales.

Rhode Island– 8.2 million oysters are harvested each year from Rhode Island.

South Carolina– Agriculture produces $42 billion dollars annually for South Carolina.

South Dakota– Every year 3 million acres of wheat are planted.

Tennessee– There is more of variety of trees in Tennessee than any other state

Texas– Agriculture employs one out of every seven working Texans

Utah– Beef makes up 69%  of Utah’s farm cash receipts

VermontVermont is the largest hay-producing state in New England.

VirginiaThe average farm size in Virginia is 179 acres

Washington– Making up 70% of apple production for the Nation, Washington is the top producer in the nation.

West Virginia– 95% of the farms in West Virginia are family owned

Wisconsin– Wisconsin is ranked first in cheese and cranberry production.

Wyoming Wyoming is the headwater of four major water drainage basins.

 

Each state is unique in every aspect you look at. There are a lot more facts about each state that are impactful and incredible, but we only did one fact for each state. If you have a fact about your state please message us, we would love to hear it! Be sure to share this with each state FFA association and agriculture organization.

-Lisandra Mejia

VP/Editor for Everything Agriculture

Will Atkinson

Writer and Marketer for Everything Agriculture

 

Checklist Of A Leader

The school year has ended and so banquets have taken place, state convention is over and regional or area rallies have happened. This means new officer teams have been elected. Whether you are a returning officer or a new officer, I hope you find this checklist beneficial. Every one of us has the potential to be an astonishing leader. We all have the opportunity to change the world. What sets some apart from others is how they choose to use the gift. Becoming a leader is not something that happens overnight. It comes from years of mistakes and failures as well as overcoming and accomplishments. Even the most put-together leaders are still learning and growing every day. So whether you are an officer, manager, mentor, coach or a leader without a title here is a checklist that will ensure growth as a leader.
1)Passion
“Go big or go home.” It’s a cliche saying, but there is a reason it’s a cliche. When it comes to having the passion for an organization or activity, it is important that you are doing it with your full heart. If you’re not doing it with your full heart, then why are you doing it? Great leaders have a passion for what they are involved in. If a teacher comes into class hating the subject they teach, the students are going to hate it as well. On the other hand, if a teacher enters class on fire with passion, then the students are more willing to listen and participate. To inspire others, leaders have to have passion.

How to improve: 1) Rethink your priorities. If something is not important enough to devote your whole heart to it, maybe it’s not that important.

2)Inspiration
When you are a leader, you are a role model and inspire people, whether you mean to or not. That means people are watching your every move and every decision. If you’re going to be a role model be a good one. When you have the chance to influence someone’s life by inspiring them, the impact should be positive. As a leader, you should be someone that people want to look up to and replicate their actions after. Even if you are a role model or inspiration for anyone, it is a necessity for you to also have inspirations. Whether it’s a religious inspiration, family member, teacher, friend, boss, or whoever continue to look to them for wisdom and guidance. Great leaders follow greater leaders.

How to improve:  1)Always be a positive representation for your organization, your school and most importantly yourself.  2) Replicate your actions after the people you look up to because people are doing the same to you.

3)Confidence
Confidence is one of the qualities that can set you apart from others in a crowd. You might be nervous inside, but if you can get in front of people and be confident then that will leave a bigger impression on the audience. When you act like you know what you are doing people are more likely to pay attention and listen to you. It is easy to confuse confidence with skill. People will say “I want to be a more confident public speaker.” When what they really need is to develop better public speaking skills rather than being more confident. Make sure you know the difference, and you have confidence but you are not overconfident.It is essential to find the balance between confidence and humility.
How to improve: 1) Scientist have shown that doing the superman pose before giving a speech or an anxiety-inducing task, will give you more self-confidence.
Some examples of how power posing can actually boost your confidence
4)Humility
Having humility is usually looked over when describing a leader. Because no one wants to admit they made mistakes and that they need help. This trait, though is vital to being a successful leader. Humility gives you the power to open up to more ideas. You are willing to listen to feedback on how to improve and fix something. You learn from your mistakes and gain wisdom to pass on to other leaders. Humility gives you the chance to self-reflect on yourself on how you can change yourself to be a better leader. Humility leads to being humble, and most people prefer a humble leader than a hotshot leader.

How to improve: 1) Realize you make mistakes because everyone does. 2) Seek opinions and feedback from other leaders. 3) Be willing to take criticism

5)Uniqueness
Every individual is different. Some may have more in common with others, but no one identical. I’ve mentioned before look up to role models and mock them in their decisions and actions, but DO NOT copy everything they do. They may be successful and knowledgeable and as we may view them as perfect. To get to that position they made their own choices, they applied suggestions from others, but they found their own way to success. Follow their guidance but do not follow their every step. As a leader you want to be different than everyone else, you want to stand out. You are unique and do not get rid of that because you are a leader.

How to improve: 1) Embrace differences. Everyone has little things that make them different than others. 2) Instead of pointing out the differences and criticizing them, encourage the uniqueness; in yourself and others.

6)Respect
Respect is something everyone should possess, leader or not. Respecting differences, ideas, decisions, actions, perspectives, it is all part of common courtesy. As a leader respect is possibly the most important aspect. If you respect others then that will give you a better image along with being a great human. When you respect teammates and figures of authority they are more willing to work with you and cooperate with you. To gain respect you must respect others. No one is going to treat you with kindness if you don’t treat anyone with kindness. In a leader’s view respect has two meanings. Respect others because it’s how you were raised and, to gain respect from others treat them how you want to be treated.

How to improve: 1) Respect everyone. Whether it is listening to someone with the exact opposite beliefs and not telling them how wrong they are, or saying please and thank you. 2)Respect will get you long ways in life.

7)Communication
If you’ve attended any leadership or team development workshop you’ll recognize this saying; “Communication is key.” The reason they say this is it is honestly the key to success in any organization or business. Without communication, it is true chaos. Plans can get misinterpreted, people could miss an important meeting, and confusion blossoms. The lack of communication can also cause conflict between members and leaders. So whether it’s making a group chat or personally speak to every individual involved in the activity, it is essential you have a way of communication.

How to improve: 1) Make sure everyone that needs to come in contact with you has a way of communicating with you. 2) Always hear everyone’s opinion.

8)Wisdom
“My advice will always be based on true knowledge and ripened with wisdom.” Wisdom is something that comes from years of experience. Years of disappointments, challenges, lessons, accomplishments, and triumphs. The wisdom you accumulate can be beneficial in multiple ways. It can help in problem-solving, giving advice, helping others, making decisions. While most of the leaders that are reading this aren’t really old enough to have decades of wisdom. Most have learned from mistakes and trails that they have faced. The knowledge you have picked up in your years have made you into the person you are. Use the wisdom you have to help advise fellow leaders and fellow and to guide yourself.

How to improve: 1) Learn from your mistakes, don’t dwell on that you failed, rather take it as an opportunity to learn. 2) Always take every chance given to you to try something new.

These are just some of the qualities that are looked for in a leader. Every leader has their own combination of strengths and weaknesses. Just because you may not possess some qualities that are associated with being a leader, doesn’t mean you aren’t. Not everyone should be the same. As long as you have a passion for what you do and learn from your struggles you are a great leader.

Share this article with leaders you look up to and the leaders in your life.

Lisandra Mejia

COO & Editor

Like Everything Agriculture on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat!

 

 

Ag Teacher Appreciation Post

“Agricultural education is a systematic program of instruction available to students desiring to learn about the science, business, technology of plant and animal production and/or about the environmental and natural resources systems. Agricultural education first became a part of the public education system in 1917 when the U.S. Congress passed the Smith-Hughes Act. Today, over 800,000 students participate in formal agricultural education instructional programs offered in grades seven-adult throughout the 50 states and three U. S. territories.”- National FFA Website

This week has been National Teacher Appreciate week. All teachers across the world deserve to feel they are appreciated and needed to their students. Teachers are a necessity to the success of a nation. They embed the knowledge and wisdom they have accumulated over the years into their students. The teachers that affect the agriculture industry the most are the agriculture educators. As FFA students we see first hand the life of an Ag teacher. So some of the members of Everything Agriculture would like to pay tribute to the teachers who changed out lives forever.

Lexi

lisa


To learn more about ag teachers, and to check out the amazing logo on the cover of this article check out http://www.naae.org/teachag/index.cfm.

Before I Joined FFA I…

Before I joined FFA I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had no clue about the diversity of agriculture. I was one of the last people you would have picked to be a public speaker. I had leadership skills but didn’t know how to use them. Before I joined FFA, I thought it was just a group of farmers. All these things and more that have changed since I joined FFA. I hope that you can relate to this list of Before I joined FFA I…

Had never run on so little sleep

During national convention and FFA week, sleep is for the weak. Being a devoted member or officer means being at school really late and waking up super early. Whether the waking up is for SAE purposes or practicing for a competition, sleep is not on your priority list.

Had never woke up at 4 to go to school

Personally, I would rather get to school at 5 to practice for a CDE than to show up at 8:30 and do quadratic formulas.On the day of competitions, there are chapters who travel 5+ hours to get to the area of competition. Either way waking up at 4 am is no big deal to an FFA member.

Never studied for days

The days before competition are some of the stressful days there are. You think of everything that could go wrong so you prepare to prevent that. You learn every little detail on the subject in because you don’t want to miss the little things. Studying for CDE’s is time-consuming. Especially when you are voluntold by your advisor 3 days before the competition.

Had never felt the stress of competitions, applications, etc.

Competitions, proficiency awards, degree applications, chapter awards, officer applications, scholarship applications, and actual school work. This list does not even begin to cover what FFA stress over. Most FFA members work along with keeping up full-time SAE. It’s no wonder that FFA members are stressed to the max. Eventually, all the stress and hard work turn into achievements and accomplishments, so I guess it’s worth all those gray hairs.

Had never gone through 20 pairs of pantyhose in a week

Guys may not be able to agree with this one but girls… come on yall know about this struggle. Going to any convention, competition or trip you always have to take extra pairs of pantyhose. For a day trip, the average female FFA member will take 2-3 pairs of pantyhose. That is for one day! I get that pantyhose are a major part of the official dress, but they can get very annoying.

Had never learned about such diverse topics

Before joining FFA I thought agriculture was just farming. After joining and taking agriculture courses I learned that agriculture is such a broad topic. Agriculture is business, technology, politics, research, education, leadership, growing crops, taking care of animals, and so much more. While agriculture has many aspects FFA focuses on each one of them. It amazed me that FFA had competitions on vet science, public speaking, agriculture business management, tractor safety, etc. Through FFA and agriculture classes,  I learned the diversity of agriculture that I would have never learned anywhere else.

Had never had so many doors open

The opportunities with FFA are endless! The opportunity to travel across the country is one that does not need to be passed up. Whether it’s traveling across your state and realizing what all your state has to offer, or going to Indianapolis, Indiana; the traveling opportunities are unrealistic. Not only is traveling a big plus there are so many other opportunities. The opportunity to make friends across the country and even outside of the US. The most outstanding opportunity is the career opportunities. The National FFA Organization gives away 2.2 million dollars in scholarships. This does not include all the other scholarship chances from other organizations for students pursuing a career in agriculture. Not to mention the thousands of careers opening up every year in the agriculture industry.

Had never had to memorize so many things

The five-paragraph belief statement of The National FFA Organization or also known as the FFA Creed; was one of the hardest things I’ve had to memorize. In the agriculture courses in my school, it is required for all agriculture students to recite the beloved creed. Along with reciting the motto. While our motto is just 12 words it’s worth the FFA members means far more than just 12 words.

Had never realized what I am capable of

Through the help of my advisor and fellow members I have discovered there is no limit to my goals. I am capable of anything I set my mind to. FFA has shaped and molded me into the leader I want to see in the world. I never knew what kind of influence I could exert in my home and community until I joined FFA.

Hadn’t found my passion

I always knew I had a passion for helping and teaching others. When I started my agriculture classes as a freshman I was exposed to the world of agriculture. After learning about agriculture and getting involved in FFA, I discovered I had a passion for agriculture. After talking to my agriculture teacher and discovering more about the career path of agriculture education I realized that is what I am meant to do.  I am not the first student to find their passion through FFA. FFA opens up our minds to the variety of careers and helps us find what we want to spend the rest of our lives doing.

Had never worn corduroy

The classic blue corduroy jacket. The symbol of The National FFA Organization all throughout history. Before FFA, corduroy was probably not a huge part of our wardrobe. Since joining FFA the jacket has become a valuable piece of memorabilia to members across the country. It stands for the dedication, hard work, leadership and memories that have made members into who they are today.

Had never found an organization in which everyone believed in the future of agriculture

“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds” The first line of the belief statement of The National FFA Organization. 600,000 current members know the creed and believe it with full hearts. Never before FFA had I met more dedicated and enthusiastic students. When I look at the students I have met and the students I have heard about, I know that America’s future is in good hands. The students of FFA are the future of agriculture.

Since I’ve joined FFA I’ve learned and experienced all these things. I now know what I want to do with my life. I also know the diversity and importance of agriculture. I believe in myself more when it comes to public speaking. I’ve learned to use my leadership skills and develop them into stronger skills. Since I’ve joined FFA I know the organization is more than farmers.  Its seekers, public speakers, teachers, technologist, politicians, scientist, accountants and so much more. Since I’ve Joined FFA I have become a better person, a better leader,  a better friend, and better, advocate. Thank you to The National FFA Organization for everything you have given me and taught me.

Lisandra Mejia

COO & Editor

Like Everything Agriculture on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat!