Learning, Doing, Earning, and Serving
and be confident in my abilities. It was fun, too.” Hannah says FFA will still have a place in her future, regardless of her final career choice.
Asked if other students should consider FFA, even if they don’t plan to work in agriculture someday, Hannah says, “Absolutely. If any little part of them wants to do it, they should. It’s really worthwhile.”
Tipton FFA Chapter
Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management Proficiency —State Award Winner
Making compost isn’t too difficult, and she enjoys the work, but, “It is kind of dirty and dusty sometimes,” says Taylor, laughing. “I wish I could do something about that.”
Taylor’s ash and compost business, Ozark Gold, began with the help of her father and uncle who raised turkeys. They were looking for a way to turn turkey mortality back into profit. Taylor uses ingredients such as pencil shavings, old hay, wood chips and sawdust to increase the effectiveness of her compost, and continually looks for new ways to improve the quality of her product. She has recently started marketing the compost to local businesses and area farmers.
Taylor has a long view for the business, and though she is still in her senior year, she has already planned how she will manage when she leaves for college. “I can come home on the weekends, it’s really easy to keep going,” she says. And, after all, her product can stand to sit awhile.
Though she credits her family for the support they gave her in developing the business, Taylor says that FFA helped teach her good work ethics and confidence. “Our ag teacher always encouraged us to do our best,” says Taylor. “It made me want to do something with myself and try harder.” It also developed her understanding of conservation issues. “You’ve got to take care of the world around you. Agriculture and conservation goals are similar: Promote the well-being of your environment.”
Perryville FFA Chapter
Wildlife Management Entrepreneurship Proficiency—2nd Place National Award Winner
Because of his strong family farming background and his interest in wildlife, Andrew knew that planning for conservation was important. So he developed a conservation plan for himself that included establishing food plots for deer. In the course of his project, he learned about harvesting trees, palatability of plants, mineral and supplemental feeding techniques, and the best ways to manage food plots.
Andrew says he’s gotten a lot of support throughout the process, and he tries to reciprocate by helping others establish similar practices. “I’d like to start my own land management business someday,” he says, “but for now I just try to encourage others to manage their land and wildlife as I do.”
Juggling schoolwork and FFA, as well as participating in Conservation Youth Corps, Quail Academy and Conservation Honors, didn’t seem to faze Andrew. “It wasn’t stressful at all,” he insists. “FFA helped me branch out and learn to talk to people, and the awards and praise from the advisors let me know I was doing good work.” He adds, “You have to do everything you can to have the most fun and to get the most out of it.”
Now that he’s graduated, Andrew plans to attend college, majoring in either wildlife biology or forestry. He might even decide to work for the Conservation Department. “This is my main passion,” he says, “and what’s better than doing something you love with your life?”