“I have been here by this here owl for the past 32 years. Being an FFA Advisor is just about the best job there is. You get to work in what I think is arguably our most important industry—Agriculture, with our most important resource—Kids. We just entered my favorite time of the year from the end of first semester until Mother’s Day. It is when every FFA Advisor worth their salt is in an all-out sprint from that goes from the third Monday in January till the gavel taps out the final session of the State FFA Convention on the second Saturday in May. From now till then there will be practices before and after school and at lunch to get the blue and gold jacketed young men and women ready to compete in everything from Creed Speaking to Livestock Judging, Food Science to Parli, and 19 other contests in between. There will plenty o’dark thirty trips in the truck that take you to the far corners of the state to judge market lambs and breeding gilts, quarter mares and stock horse geldings, yield grade beef carcasses, identify weed samples, and to stand and deliver the perfect speech on topics from Wolves to Water Quality. There will Saturday mornings weighing spring show pigs in the mud and Sunday night workshops to finish State Degrees and Proficiency Applications. FFA Week activities to pull off and community festivals to help with it because it’s the right thing to do. There will be stockshows to organize and kids to get to the showring. The plants cuttings just started coming for the greenhouse and in less than 90 days you’ll be selling bedding plants and vegetable starts to help fund your trip to State Convention. There will be advisory board meetings and summer fairs to plan. Your diet will shift from the dinner table to hot case delights. Your coffee intake increases. And you are still teaching six classes a day with spring work to do at home and church to get to on Sunday.
FFA Advisors are different from teachers you’ll find in other rooms in the schoolhouse. They are invested. They are committed. They are dedicated. And, most of all they love their jobs. Because if they didn’t, they couldn’t possibly do it. All it takes…is all you got. If you are not investing that kind of effort you are doing it wrong. In the second paragraph of the FFA Creed, there is a line that says, “For I know the joys and discomforts of an agricultural life”. FFA Advisors get to experience both. The joy that come from seeing your members shine in the showring, on the stage, or in the classroom. The joy of building lasting relationships with students who will tell you 30 years after they graduated that you were their favorite teacher back in the day and they still remember the skills and life lessons you taught them. The relationships are built on the many hours that we get to spend with students in the pickup, at practices, at competitions, at conferences, and at conventions. The trust and respect that is built when students see the time that you are devoting to their future while taking time away from your own. The discomforts come when the sow is farrowing the piglets are born dead, when the finish in the CDE wasn’t in the banners, when kids don’t see the potential in themselves that you know is there. It is our job to come up with the right thing to say to motivate them to the see the lesson in the disappointment. It isn’t the best part of the job, but it is part of what we signed on for.
I always tried to be the FFA Advisor that I’d want my own kids to have. And as a result, I’ve taken up thousands of them to raise over the past three plus decades because I am an agriculture educator by choice and not by chance. It is a job that never has two days the same and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. After 32 years, I still believe that my best years are still ahead of me and keep working to figure out how to do it better. How be more efficient and squeeze a few more hours into the day to make a difference in the lives of our greatest resource—Kids, and in our greatest industry—Agriculture.”
#agriculture #ffa #ffaadvisor
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