This past summer, Monsanto presented an Ag Youth in the Spotlight Award to Vance Zacharias, son on of a North Dakota farmer. Vance is heavily involved in FFA at the local and state levels, and we asked him to tell us why he believes FFA is important to himself and to agriculture. Here’s what he said.
Throughout life, we make choices, choices that define who we are as individuals. One choice that has defined me as an individual is the choice to join the FFA. Throughout the past six years, the FFA has effectively made me the individual that I am today. The FFA’s focuses of premier leadership, personal growth and career success, prepared me for the future. To me, the FFA is more than just an organization – it is a part of me that continually affects my future. The FFA has defined me, networked me and prepared me for the future of my choice.
Everyone defines themselves differently. The FFA allowed me to discover my own definition. I can now be defined by the way I act, talk and think. Leadership training, experiences, positions, Career Development Events and Proficiency areas have all given me knowledge and skills to act professionally. Training seminars and speaking obligations crafted my speaking skills and confidence. Time away from home, which effectively took me out of my comfort zone, enabled me to realize what’s important in life, what values to uphold and what dreams to embrace. My personal definition can also be linked to the network that the FFA has created.
Networks link friends, colleagues and other personal contacts. The FFA has networked me with friends, teachers and professionals for a lifetime of success. It is unreal how every person that I associate with seems to have a tie to the FFA. Whether I’m at college, visiting businesses or socializing with friends, the FFA is a common thread that binds us together. The network continues to grow each year, and it has proven its capabilities. It’s because of this connection that I’ve been prepared for the future.
Preparation is the key to success. Through all of the preparation for the future, the FFA has effectively given me the key to my own success. I have prepared, studied, practiced and embraced information relating to my future. The FFA has inspired me for the future. Through the FFA, I have learned that by 2050, an estimated 9 billion people will inhabit Earth.
Agriculturalists must double global agricultural output to provide for this population, yet reduce the inputs used for agriculture. Agriculture’s future role shapes my goals and ambitions on a daily basis. The goals and ambitions that I seek are to help feed the world in the future. Every conference and seminar I attend helps to motivate me for the future, connect me with other great minds across our nation, and open my eyes to new possibilities and opportunities.
My future goals and ambitions relating to production agriculture can be tied to the infinite potential of agriculture that the FFA has shown me throughout the past six years. As an African Proverb once stated, “Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” Because of the FFA, I can confidently say that tomorrow belongs to me.