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David Sparks Ph.d FFA All the Way
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: February 28, 2019

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The next generation of agricultural leaders were part of the agenda of the State Board of Agriculture’s quarterly meeting with a message that resonates with FFA : State officers with Oregon FFA told the Board of Agriculture about the great work being done by their organization. One potential misconception about FFA members is that they already know a lot about agriculture when they join. That’s not the case for Lee Wesenberg of Sutherlin: “A fun-fact about me, I have no ag background at all, in my family or at my house. I live in a cul-de-sac. I have no land and I’ve never raised an animal.”

Wesenberg and many other FFA members who are part of Oregon’s 115 chapters have not only learned a great deal about agriculture, but plan on making it a career. State officers like Emma Rooker of Bend take a year to travel to schools throughout the state helping teach leadership and other life skills to a wide audience: “We’re walking into those classrooms and we’re not just talking to FFA kids. We’re talking to students who play sports, students who are involved in drama club, students who may never wear the blue jacket. But we’re also there to impact those kids, not just the FFA students but the kids who are going to get maybe one representation of ag, but we’re going to represent it to them in the best, truest form possible.”

It’s important to note that each of the nearly 650,000 FFA student members in the US have their own story to tell. What unites them all is the fact that today’s FFA members are the leaders of tomorrow.

WESENBERG, a good example of someone who is not the stereotypical FFA member, says when he entered high school, he had no background in agriculture and really no interest in pursuing it: “It was one of those things when I had that forecasting sheet, all my friends were doing it. So I thought, I guess, you know, why not? I’ll try it. There are scholarships there, so maybe in the future it will help me. Little did I know that I would soon fall in love with it. My FFA experience has done so much to me.”

FFA state officer JENSON KEMBLE of Ontario is among those FFA members who have taken a year to visit other FFA members across the state and reach potential new members: “We’ve been able to travel across Oregon and experience some pretty amazing things and interact with some incredible members who are the future of our agriculture. And we really believe that. Oregon FFA is doing some amazing things.”

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