As my year as a National FFA Officer comes to a close, I am reminded of the opening of our FFA Creed: “I believe in the future of agriculture…” Here are a few of the reasons why I believe in the National FFA Organization even more strongly than when I was elected last October.
A thoughtful Nevada state officer, who after hearing how disappointed I was to not be able to visit her state in person, mailed me a set of brochures, articles and road trip guides, so I could still enjoy the beauty and intrigue of the state without being there. Her kindness made me wonder how many kind gestures I had failed to make in the past, but inspired me to make more in the future.
A past state officer in Tennessee continues to work for the advancement of agriculture as an elementary school teacher in an urban area. His love for his community, intentionally in bringing agriculture into his day-to-day lesson planning and desire for a bright future in both the lives of his students and the food system, instilled hope in my heart for the way we can each share our love of agriculture with the people in our lives.
A high school junior in South Dakota with a deeply compassionate heart, but whose intentions were constantly misunderstood. His efforts to include everyone in activities at leadership camp, even if they were shy and unlike his own boisterous self, made me see how influential it can be to simply see the good in others and point it out to them.
An ag teacher in Oklahoma who treated his students with such kindness they were nearly tripping over each other to share stories of their memories as a chapter. His dedication to his work encouraged me. Strong agriculture teachers create strong agriculture programs which create strong agriculture students who create strong communities.
A pair of new FFA members from New York, strangers to each other at the beginning of our Zoom call, but who became friends at the end because of their genuine curiosity. The hour I spent with those girls convicted me, as I had begun to question if spending time on virtual workshops was worth it. Clearly, it is meaningful and the number of people who join the call has nothing to do with how valuable the time is.
A camper in Ohio who only signed up because his big sister forced him to, but who left camp as one of the most encouraging and motivating members in his small group. I heard him say to himself on the second day, “Well, I’m out of my comfort zone already; might as well stay out of it.” His words made me look deeper at the ways in which I’d retreated back into my comfort zone this year and I resolved to step out more.
A quiet girl in Missouri who shared with me her fear of not being elected to an office simply because she wasn’t as vocal about her interest as some of her peers. I saw myself in her, and as I encouraged her, I realized that she was the one encouraging me because of her willingness to serve even when afraid.
There are many, many, many more reasons for why I believe in the future of agriculture. Each of those reasons is a human being with potential.
Friends, keep believing in the young people around you. While we may see them as simply the future of agriculture, the future is coming soon and it starts with potential, today.
Miriam Hoffman of Earlville, Illinois, is the National FFA eastern region vice president. She is an agribusiness economics major at Southern Illinois University.