Yesterday’s FFA Students, Today’s Ag Industry Leaders
It’s National FFA Week, and here at NTF, FFA members are near and dear to our hearts! The National FFA Organization develops America’s youth for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Today’s NTF membership, Executive Committee and staff include many FFA alumni! As we celebrate what this organization means to the turkey industry as a whole, let’s take a walk down memory lane and see what the FFA program means to some of our staff…
Beth Breeding, Vice President of Communications and Marketing
FFA has helped open so many doors for me. Growing up in the small town of Fort Defiance, Virginia, I never thought that what I learned from FFA would take me so far. Through FFA, I developed important leadership skills and self-confidence. I had the opportunity to serve as chapter president and participate in competitions at the regional, state and national levels. Who knew parliamentary procedure was so cool? Being part of the state championship parliamentary procedure team was so much fun and introduced me to one of my good friends, Robert’s Rules of Order.
Raising and showing market steers was probably to this date one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve done. And I’ll never forget the feeling of walking across the stage at the National FFA Convention to receive my American FFA Degree. While these are invaluable experiences, I also learned about the power of and strength of American agriculture and developed an even fiercer respect for the men and women working day in and day out to feed a hungry world. Sure, the blue corduroy jacket isn’t exactly couture, and it could be hot as heck, but I’m honored to wear it as an FFA alumna and current board member of the Virginia FFA Foundation. FFA supports future leaders in agriculture, and I’m proud to support this organization today.
Lindy Froebel, Manager of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs
FFA is an organization dear to my heart. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in FFA throughout high school and as an FFA advisor during my time as an agricultural science teacher. Some of my favorite things about FFA are that it is a cocurricular program that empowers students to step out of their comfort zone, challenges them to be servant leaders, allows them to apply the knowledge learned in the classroom and provides a launchpad for a variety of career paths, including one such as my own.
Rebecca Mackey, Senior Manager of Member Services
From 2011-2015, I was a member of the Central Hardin FFA Chapter in Kentucky. I was honored to serve as the chapter president and regional secretary, and I also served on the Agriculture Issues team my senior year. That year, we received 3rd place in the nation out of 44 teams!
This photo of myself and my father, Scott Mackey, is from the night I was officially installed as the Central Hardin FFA Chapter president. He drove three hours to attend the annual banquet. He pulled me aside and said, “here is my FFA jacket from my senior year where I served as president. I want you to have it because you need a president’s jacket.” Today, both of our jackets hang in his home.
Throughout my time in the FFA my father was always there to watch me succeed (and sometimes fail). During the Agriculture Issues Career Development Event (CDE) in 2014, he drove 10 hours roundtrip for three days just to watch me compete with my teammates. The years I spent in FFA were some of the best of my life, and I owe a lot to the people, including my father, who helped and supported me along the way.
Fun fact: Every time my dad came to an FFA event, he always wore a blue and gold shirt – all my friends called him “Poppa Scott!”
Leeandra Bobo, Spring Intern
I am not from a rural family, so I stumbled into becoming an FFA member. During my sophomore year, my Ag teacher recognized a spark in me, and it wasn’t long until I dove into the organization headfirst! Throughout my years in FFA, I raised broilers and steers, competed in poultry judging, public speaking, sporting clays and ag mechanics and served as a chapter officer.
Being a member of FFA helped me develop confidence, enhance my leadership abilities and become a young woman excited to pursue a career in agriculture. As a college senior currently interning with NTF, I look back at the doors FFA opened for me and could not be prouder to be an alum of an organization that develops some of America’s brightest.