Seed World

National FFA Week: Sowing Seeds of Leadership

After being on an airplane or in an airport for more than 27 hours I was beyond ready for landing, touchdown in Taiwan.

At 18-years-old, I’d never been out of the country before, much less to an area whose primary language wasn’t English. Jet-lagged and overwhelmed, my first night in Taiwan was restless. The trip itself was part of a program for FFA students in Missouri to expose members to cultures and agricultural practices outside of the U.S.

It worked.


Over the course of eight days, I worked with translators, visited greenhouses, saw corn growing in roadside ditches, harvested bamboo and experienced countless other memories that helped me see a world beyond Bolivar, Mo. It pushed me to think outside the box, be patient and understand that ag is, and always will be, a global industry with practices that vary greatly from the pasture and cattle I knew.

For those of us who were members of the National FFA Organization, this week is likely flooded with memories. From driving tractors to school to field trips to farm shows, National FFA Week means a lot to many of us.

However, it’s not just the fun we had with the organization that stands out for me. I joined FFA a decade-and-a-half ago and those experiences helped guide me to where I’m at in my career today—and I’m sure many of you share that same story.

My experience in Taiwan made me curious about different cultures and ways of operating, public speaking made me interested in telling the story of agriculture, the job interview contest helped me prepare for my career and various career development events helped me find a specialty.

However, the experience I’m most grateful for was the people I met, and connections made. When I attend events as a professional today, I am guaranteed to run into at least one FFA alum with whom I can reminisce.

For those of you who were FFA members, or still are part of FFA alumni, what’s your favorite memory? How did this organization help prime you for your career today?

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