Jason Smith was a member of the Future Farmers of America while a student at Daviess County High School. Now he’s returned as an Ag teacher and became an FFA advisor. In honor of National FFA week February 22-29, Smith reflects on all he appreciates about the organization that promotes servant leadership.
“My favorite aspect of FFA is the family atmosphere, fostered in the program based on rural values and the agricultural community,” he said. “There is truly something for every member to become involved in. FFA fosters leadership and personal growth by promoting many career development events that are tied to the curriculum. Our members grow to be better citizens.”
Currently, DCHS has 175 members in FFA, meeting the membership requirement of enrollment in an agriculture education class. Starting next year, students in the 8th grade will be able to take an introductory class in agriculture that will allow them to become involved in FFA and transfer that credit to the high schools which will expand opportunities with dual college credits and industry internship opportunities.
“We are excited about the support of the Daviess County Board of Education that has allowed us to be able to expand the agriculture program and FFA to the middle schools in the county next year,” Smith said.
The National FFA Convention, which brings together 70,000 FFA members from across the nation, is Smith’s favorite event. Here, students celebrate success and honor the agriculture industry.
“It is refreshing to look over a sea of Blue and Gold jackets representing small towns and big cities in the United States; it truly restores my faith in this country and the next generation of leaders,” Smith said.
One of those leaders is senior Cara Smith who has been involved in FFA for four years.
“Once I started high school, I lost a lot of friends for being myself and not giving in to peer pressure. I found FFA and found that everyone in FFA is supportive of one another and not judgemental. Everyone is accepting of everyone else’s passions and interests even beyond agriculture,” Cara Smith said.
The high school senior explained FFA gives students many outlets to participate in community events. Putting students’ names out there at a young age gives them a head start to professional opportunities after high school.
“During my time in FFA I have been involved in community events such as Rooster Booster Breakfasts, Farm-City Breakfasts, Rural Life dinners, Tours at Owensboro Grain, and many other events,” Cara Smith said.
Ethan Smith, who serves as the current Daviess County FFA President and the Green River Region FFA Chaplain, said his favorite aspect of the organization is meeting new people and encountering different viewpoints of agriculture from across the region.
“I competed in a speaking contest which helps prepare students to be able to speak in front of an audience. Whether that is a group of peers or in an interview setting, FFA will prepare them for it,” Ethan Smith said.
Like his advisor, Ethan most enjoys the National Convention which he views as an opportunity to meet people from across the nation.
“It’s where I make a lot of my friendships and get to truly understand how agriculture is around the country,” Ethan Smith said.