National FFA Officer Tour Visits Ag Leader Technology
Last week, Ag Leader Technology had the distinct privilege of hosting Riley Pagett and Wyatt DeJong, two National FFA Officers, and their sponsor Maggie Halferty, Regional Director of the National FFA Foundation, at the Ag Leader campus in Ames.
The visit on March 23, 2011, was just one stop on the National FFA Officer Partnership Tour, a program designed as part of an overall training and outreach for National Officers of the FFA. Visits are conducted with companies across the United States with a stake in agriculture. “The purpose of our tour is to highlight the latest advances and issues in ag education and FFA. The companies we visit then have the opportunity to share with our officers what’s new and exciting in their world,” Halferty explained.
Ag Leader President Al Myers, Support System Manager Kelly Kopsa and I shared information with the officers about our responsibilities within the organization, as well as our vision for the future of agriculture. The learning was a two-way street, as the National Officers also answered questions from the folks at Ag Leader about their journey with FFA, their passion for agriculture and their career aspirations. The informative discussion ended with a tour of the Ag Leader campus including the engineering department, the plant and Ag Leader Academy.
Kopsa explained Ag Leader’s tradition of supporting the FFA, “Ag Leader is a proud sponsor of the Emerging Agriculture Technology Proficiency Award, an honor given to FFA members at a chapter, state or national level who’ve completed a SAE (Supervised Ag Experience) and were chosen as the best of the best. The competition gives the students ‘real-world’ experience and the potential to influence the future of agriculture with their ideas.”
What It Takes To Tour
Each year, six individuals between the ages of 19-21 are elected from the national membership at the annual National FFA Convention. Officers take one year off from their college study and dedicate that year of service to FFA. Each travels approximately 300 days during their year as an officer, meeting with FFA members, parents and business leaders. The also meet such leaders as the President of the United States, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, congressional and USDA officials in Washington D.C., international leaders, and members of the agriculture/agribusiness industry.
Pagett hails from Oklahoma State University where he is an Agricultural Communications major with a Religious Studies Minor. His career goals are to continue his studies at either law school or seminary, and move home to northwest Oklahoma to be an advocate for agriculture.
DeJong studies Agricultural Education and Animal Science at South Dakota State University. He is excited to one day become a teacher and influence the world of agriculture through education.