Two weeks ago I attended the Massachusetts State FFA Convention, where over 400 members participated in Career Development Events, convention sessions, and met other students who share a passion for agricultural pursuits. After the convention wrapped up, it was difficult to say goodbye to my new friends.
Sitting on the train from Boston to New Jersey I was listening to music, watching the countryside roll by out the window, and thinking about the goals and hopes of FFA members across the country. How much I hope every one of us realize the opportunity to achieve our dreams!
This past week Jason and I visited 13 FFA sponsors from New Jersey to North Carolina. Our stops included agribusiness in crop protection, farming equipment, and pork production. We visited Pfizer Animal Health which provides over 1 million dollars to support FFA! At each stop I was interested to learn about why our sponsors believe a partnership with FFA is important. One particular experience made the answer very apparent.
Back in Massachusetts I met Patrick Marshall, from the Essex FFA Chapter. He hopes to one day work in agriculture markets, buying and selling commodities like corn, wheat, and soybeans. Patrick is one the members I thought about that day on the train.
Jason and I visited Smithfield Foods, Inc. in Virginia, where I met Dhamu Thamodaran, who buys and sells agriculture commodities like corn, wheat, and soybeans. “Aha!” I thought, “He has Patrick’s dream job.” After the meeting, Dhamu asked me to send his contact information to Patrick, in hope that he might apply for an internship or ask for career advice. It is students like Patrick and his peers who will one day walk the halls of Smithfield Foods, or work in the 300+ careers agriculture encompasses.
FFA supporters understand supporting the FFA is an investment in the future – future employees, industry leaders, and customers. While we pursue goals in school, CDE’s, sports, or in our SAE programs, we are preparing to lead successful and productive careers. As I travel to the next FFA event, these thoughts of hopes, goals, and achievement fill my mind, and my heart. May we continue to define a tomorrow that exceeds expectations.