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Views and opinions: FFA star sharing his time to encourage younger students


I am always amazed at the network developed in agriculture. Most of us could go to any state in the nation and we would know someone in that state who is involved in agriculture – and who would likely come lend a hand in times of trouble.

And I’ve realized now just how young that begins.

In October I was tasked with a writing assignment from one of the media outlets I work with, and was enthused when I found out I was going to interview two FFA American Star Award finalists. One was a 22-year-old diesel mechanic from Iowa and the other was a college student at Michigan State.

The MSU student, Loren King, had also been a state officer and was vying for the national officer team. It didn’t take long for me to realize how special these students were and the difference they were making in their own little corners of the world.

But Loren was local, and we were in the second month of our FFA teaching career, so when I finished interviewing Loren for the story, I began quizzing him about the student side of being in FFA. He was a wealth of information and was incredibly encouraging, offering to stop in and visit our FFA chapter.

He had built a drone that was able to perform soil tests, and I knew I wanted him to come speak to our class about the technology he had developed. So, right before we went on Christmas break, Loren came into our class.

Here he was – a college student, a former state officer, a finalist for the American Star Award and a potential National FFA officer – standing in our classroom, showing two dozen high school students what could happen when you put hard work and determination into realizing your dreams.

Honestly, some of our students had no interest in that soil sampling drone, but other students were quite interested in the technology. That didn’t matter to Loren; he explained everything about the drone, and then took another drone out and as we stood out in the snow, he put on a demonstration and took our class photo.

Loren had nothing to gain by sharing his experience with our class, except that he has a passion to encourage and empower other students to get involved and discover the benefits of FFA, just like he did.

When the students left, and we stood there talking about our class and how unsure we were as teachers and about where we were headed, this twenty-something gave us a shot in the arm like no one else could. He told us we had so much to offer, then gave us a few ideas of what else we could do that the students would enjoy.

I continue to be amazed and impressed with a young man we just met, encouraging an older generation to pull the passion out of a younger generation all for the sake of improving the world of agriculture. This is the sweet spot of agriculture.


The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Melissa Hart may write to her in care of this publication.