Missouri FFA Today - April 2024 Issue

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Missouri FFA Today

Living to Serve... in Texas

Northwest Missouri FFA members plan, execute relief efforts for Texas ranchers affected by wildfires.

April 17-19 Missouri FFA State Convention, Columbia

May 3 LEAD Conference Registration Due

May 10 Public Speaking Academy Registration Due

May 28-31 LEAD Conference, Eight locations statewide

June 3-7 Missouri Agribusiness Academy, Springfield area

June 3-July 12 Missouri FFA Camp, Camp Rising Sun, Kaiser

June 4-6 Public Speaking Academy, UCM, Warrensburg

June 7-8 Area Officer Institute, Camp Rising Sun, Kaiser

June 14-16 HYMAX Academy, Camp Rising Sun, Kaiser

June 25-27 HYPE Academy, Jefferson City @Missouri FFA missouriffa.org @missouriffa

hundred and 54 miles separate Chillicothe, Missouri, and Canadian, Texas. Six young farmers made the trek from Chillicothe to Canadian last month, loaded with fencing supplies, livestock feed, hay and other relief resources with one goal in mind: to help Texas Panhandle farmers and ranchers affected by wildfires.

What started as a brief conversation, quickly spread into a community-wide effort.

“Coming from an agricultural area in northwest Missouri and a farm family with cattle of our own, it was devastating to see the loss of livestock and to hear about the lack of resources available to sustain the surviving herds due to wildfires,” explains Tucker Narr, a high school senior and member of the Chillicothe FFA Chapter. “It was hard to fathom finding yourself in that situation.”

Six northwest Missouri FFA members and alumni traveled to Canadian, Texas, last month to aid farmers and ranchers affected by wildfires.

1 Contents 1 2 3 4 9 10 18 CONTINUED ON
ON THE calendar
APRIL 2024


Officer • Chapter

Samuel Tummons • Columbia President

Owen Neely • Lockwood 1st Vice President

Karson Calvin • Troy Secretary

Vice Presidents

Lynn Dyer • Higginsville

Noah Graham • Clearwater

Isabella Hamner • Camdenton

Wyatt Hendley • Bloomfield

Jaden Kultgen • Mount Vernon

Kiley Mattson • Stanberry

Colin McIntyre • Belton

Kelsey Miller • Warrenton

Caleb Simpson • Bolivar

Maggie Stark • Adrian

Gabriel Todd • Norwood

Claire Walker • Chillicothe

Lilly Weber • Lamar

State Officer Mentor

Jacob King

Department of Elem. & Sec. Education

P.O. Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102 (573) 751-3544.

District Supervisors:

Teresa Briscoe, Lee Crabtree, Marie Davis, Keith Dietzschold, Lisa Evans, David Higgins & Jim Spencer.

Missouri FFA Association

Joann Pipkin, Director of Communications joann.pipkin@missouriffa.org (417) 827-2756

Brandelyn Twellman, Social Media Manager brandelyn.twellman@missouriffa.org

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, veteran status, mental or physical disability, or any other basis prohibited by statute in its programs and activities. Inquiries related to department programs and to the location of services, activities, and facilities that are accessible by persons with disabilities may be directed to the Jefferson State Office Building, Director of Civil Rights Compliance and MOA Coordinator (Title VI/Title VII/Title IX/504/ADA/ADAAA/Age


the dynamic landscape of agriculture, success often hinges not only on individual skill, but also on the collaborative efforts of a team. This ethos is deeply ingrained in the fabric of the National FFA Organization, where teamwork stands as a cornerstone principle for growth and achievement. With a shared vision and a commitment to support one another, FFA members harness the power of teamwork to cultivate success in every endeavor they undertake.

At the heart of FFA’s philosophy is the belief that together, individuals can achieve more than they ever could alone. Whether it’s participating in competitive events, organizing community service projects, or advocating for agricultural issues, FFA members understand that collaboration amplifies their impact and propels them towards their goals.

One of the most tangible manifestations of teamwork within FFA is evident during its competitive events. From parliamentary procedure to livestock judging, these

competitions require participants to work closely with their teammates, pooling their knowledge and skills to solve problems and make informed decisions. In doing so, members not only sharpen their own abilities, but also learn the value of cooperation and mutual support—a lesson that extends far beyond the competition arena.

Moreover, FFA’s emphasis on teamwork extends beyond the confines of its chapters and into the broader agricultural community. Through partnerships with local businesses, government agencies, and other organizations, FFA members gain valuable, real-world experience while contributing to the collective advancement of the industry. Whether it’s collaborating on educational initiatives or spearheading sustainability projects, these partnerships exemplify the transformative power of teamwork in driving meaningful change.


Act/ GINA/USDA Title VI), 5th Floor, 205 Jefferson Street, P.O. Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 651020480; telephone number 573-526-4757 or TTY 800-735-2966; email civilrights@dese.mo.gov.
The 2023-24 Missouri FFA State Officers work on team building during a recent meeting.


FFA’s commitment to teamwork is evident in its mentorship programs, where experienced members guide and support newcomers as they navigate their FFA journey. By fostering a culture of mentorship and peer support, FFA ensures that every member has access to the resources and encouragement they need to thrive. This spirit of camaraderie not only strengthens the bonds within the organization, but also lays the foundation for future leaders to emerge and carry on the legacy of teamwork.

Beyond its immediate impact, the value of teamwork in FFA extends to the personal and professional development of its members. By learning to collaborate effectively, communicate clearly and resolve conflicts constructively, FFA members acquire essential skills that will serve them well in any endeavor they pursue. Whether they choose to pursue a career in agriculture or venture into other fields, the lessons learned through teamwork in FFA will continue to shape their lives and contribute to their success.

In essence, teamwork lies at the heart of FFA’s mission to cultivate premier leadership, personal growth and career success among its members. By embracing the power of collaboration, FFA members not only achieve their goals, but also leave a lasting impact on their communities and the agricultural industry as a whole. As they work together towards a common purpose, they embody the true spirit of FFA: unity in action, excellence in service and success through teamwork.

Blue JacketBrief







My SAE is three-fold. I have an agricultural communications SAE as an intern for “My FFA Experience” and as director of marketing for The Berry Patch. I also run a cow-calf operation alongside my dad for my beef production SAE. Finally, through my food science SAE, I work at restaurants in my hometown.


Growing up in a suburban area just outside of Kansas City, I wasn’t afforded the opportunities that other FFA members were given. Because of that, I wanted to show members that you don’t have to have a “perfect” FFA career to be successful in agriculture. .

#1 college in the nation

DRIVINGMissouri Corn

Missouri FFA celebrates the 25th anniversary of driving ethanol-powered vehicle.

1999 Missouri FFA State Convention marks a special time in the organization’s history. It was the beginning of what has come to be a 25-year partnership with Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA).

That year, MCGA President Ron McNeall of Keytesville presented the keys to a new Flex-Fuel Chrysler Minivan to the 1998-1999 Missouri FFA state officer team. Missouri FFA will celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the presentation during the 2024 Convention, April 17-19 in Columbia.

“As farmers, many of us participated in FFA and understand the impact agricultural education can have on individuals, our communities, and our industry,” explains Matt Lambert, Missouri Corn Merchandising Council chairman. “Providing the vehicle is one way to support those efforts while furthering state officer knowledge on corn and ethanol production in the state.”

According to the 1999 Missouri Corn Annual Report, the ethanol van helps promote corn and ethanol in addition to agricultural leadership and value-added agriculture.

McNeall recalls MCGA was working especially hard back in 1999 to jumpstart the ethanol industry.

“It was still new to many consumers, and Missouri was at the forefront of pushing for availability and use of the homegrown fuel,” he says. “We always had a strong relationship with FFA and were looking for a long-term investment in supporting the organization.”

He adds that an ethanol-powered vehicle was a perfect opportunity to

invest in future leaders while also promoting future demand for corn farmers.

Through the on-going partnership, Missouri Corn provides use of a graphically

(top) The 2023-24 Missouri FFA state officer team visited the Missouri Corn office to learn more about corn production and ethanol use as they prepared to use the Flex Fuel truck gifted to Missouri FFA by Missouri Corn during their year of service.

(bottom) Missouri Corn Growers Association President Ron McNeall, Keytesville, presents the keys to a 1999 Flex-Fuel Chrysler minivan to the 1009-99 Missouri FFA state officer team during the 1999 Missouri FFA State Convention.

enhanced Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV), which can run on E85 (85% ethanol). Missouri Corn has updated the vehicle regularly since 1999 and looks forward to presenting a new FFA Corn Truck during this year’s state convention.

“This vehicle not only helps our association with our travels across the state, but also provides our officers a chance to continue sharing the story of value-added agriculture and in this case, the ethanol story,” explains Keith Dietzschold, state advisor, Missouri FFA Association. “We look forward to another 25 years of partnership, and greatly appreciate MCGA’s support these past two decades.”

Missouri Corn CEO Bradley Schad says the partnership benefits both Missouri Corn and Missouri FFA. “State officers can depend on the corn truck to get them where they need to be while bringing attention to ethanol as a cleaner fuel source for consumers,” he says. “We spend time with the officers at the beginning of the year to deepen their knowledge about ethanol use, so when they’re on the road or fueling up at the pump, they can share that information with others.”

Ultimately, the partnership is about growing tomorrow’s leaders, investing in their future and in the agricultural industry.

MCGA President Brent Hoerr concludes, “Missouri agricultural education is providing a solid foundation for so many students, and we’re proud to promote their successes while continuing to grow the agricultural industry we hope to see them lead in the future.”


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Missouri FFA State Convention Kicks off April 17-19 in Columbia

96th Annual State FFA Convention of the Missouri FFA Association is truly a special event this year. Columbia, Missouri, welcomes us to town for this special event where Missouri FFA members will be recognized and rewarded their hard work and achievements throughout the past year.

The Convention theme this year is “Open the Door...” For 96 years, our organization has opened the door for students in classrooms across the state to develop and expand their knowledge of applied science, as well as their technical and employability skills while learning about our nation’s no. 1 industry: agriculture. Our organization has opened the door for members to embrace their passions with their Supervised Agricultural Experience programs (SAE) in areas such as animal agriculture, crop production, mechanics and agriscience. Over the years, FFA has adjusted to reflect our ever-changing society and has empowered members to be leaders and innovators within our industry.

Missouri welcomes home one of its own, Grant Norfleet of Mexico, Missouri, National FFA Secretary. Norfleet will address attendees during the first general convention session on Wednesday, April 17.

Missouri FFA also welcomes Governor Mike Parson to the stage during the the fifth general convention session on Friday evening, April 19. The Governor is a small business owner and a third-generation farmer who currently owns and operates a cow-calf operation near Bolivar. He has remained an active farmer throughout his time in elected office, including while serving as Missouri’s 57th Governor.

In addition to the five general convention sessions, the 96th Annual Missouri FFA Convention will feature leadership workshops for members. The FFA Career Show also gives students and guests insight and the chance to learn about agricultural businesses, organizations, colleges and universities and more. Additionally, Missouri FFA will recognize the State Star Farmer, State Star in Agribusiness and State Star in Placement as well as present 1,051 State FFA Degrees to deserving members statewide. More than 8,000 people are expected to be in Columbia at the University of Missouri Hearnes Center for the state’s largest FFA event.

Need a Photo From This Year’s State FFA Convention?

Q: Who will be taking photos?

A: Whitney Whitaker Photography will be providing photography coverage of the 2024 MO FFA Convention. There will be a team of photographers covering all the sessions as well as official photos backstage.

Q: How do I purchase my photos from Convention?

A: You can purchase digital downloads or prints from whitneywhitaker.org.

Q: How much are photos going to cost?

A: Digital downloads will cost $20 per image. You can purchase prints starting at $1.

Q: When can I expect photos to be online and ready to purchase?

A: All the photos should be uploaded within 24 hours following each session.

Q: Where can I go to take a group photo of my FFA Chapter?

A: Backdrops will be provided throughout the halls around the arena for anyone to access at no cost.

Q: When can I get a professional photo taken during convention?

A: The photographer will be available to take professional photos outside of Convention sessions during scheduled times as outlined on her website, accessible via the QR code below.

Learn more about Whitney Whitaker Photograhy and view Convention photos: Get Convention information and event results online at https://convention.missouriffa.org/




WHAT DAVID DOES: David is a senior loan officer team lead for Paddio Home Loans in Springfield, Missouri.

WHAT DAVID LEARNED IN FFA: Through his experiences in FFA, David learned the value in exploring new opportunities and how teamwork can help achieve a common goal.


to Grow

Cope knew early on in his life that he had a passion for agriculture and wanted to become an FFA member.

Growing up in rural Barry County, Cope lived 11 miles from the nearest town. His family’s cow-calf operation and FFA involvement would lend him much experience during his years as a student at Galena High School.

Today, Cope remains a part of the family’s 5th generation century farm. Alongside his parents, brothers and their families, the Copes raise beef cattle, hay and fescue seed in addition to a few goats and hair sheep. Cope and his wife, Jana, have two children: Eli, 15, and Falynn, 12.

“(In FFA) I was able to attend many events and gain opportunities which opened doors that would have otherwise been shut to me,” Cope explains.

Cope and twin brother, Glen, were the first set of twins selected for the Missouri Agribusiness Academy. A former winner of the Missouri Institute of Cooperatives speaking contest, Cope says he first learned the importance of public speaking as a freshman delivering the FFA Creed. He went on to serve as president of the Galena FFA Chapter his senior year. During his FFA career, Cope also gained experience in livestock judging as well as other Career Development Events. As a high school senior, Cope competed in the state extemporaneous speaking contest, was the state beef cattle production proficiency

David Cope tells you how he continues to benefit from opportunities, relationships all because of FFA

“FFA taught me to learn from every experience, whether I was successful or unsuccessful, and to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.”
–David Cope
Senior Loan Officer / Team Lead Paddio Home Loans
Former Galena FFA Member

winner and went on to be selected as Missouri’s Star State Farmer.

“I received my American FFA Degree the last year the national convention was in Kansas City, which has always been a special moment for me,” Cope says.

Cope earned a degree in agribusiness from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He also holds a master’s in business administration.

“Growing up, I only wanted to work in agriculture,” Cope says. “The FFA gave me an opportunity to experience many different facets of agriculture and learn the




importance of and the interconnection of each component with each other.”

After college, Cope had a varied career, working first at MFA, Inc., in Columbia before accepting a loan officer position in a small community bank close to where he grew up. After six years in the banking industry, Cope became the superintendent of the University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon, Missouri.

“My experience in attending field days (at the Southwest Center) as an FFA member helped shape how we continued, developed and evolved the events held there,” Cope says.

Today, Cope is a senior loan officer team lead for Paddio Home Loans in Springfield where he’s privileged to work alongside his wife.

“Life is about personal growth in many ways, and FFA has an excellent framework to help individuals try new things, grow oneself and build a personal brand.”
–David Cope Senior Loan Officer / Team Lead Paddio Home Loans
Former Galena FFA Member

“Life is about personal growth in many ways, and FFA has an excellent framework to help individuals try new things, grow oneself and build a personal brand,” Cope says. Cope encourages FFA members to step outside their comfort zone.

“You might not know what you like or want to do as a career, and trying many things will allow you the opportunity to know what you don’t want to do, which in many ways is as important as knowing what you like to do,” Cope explains.

As advocacy continues to play a valuable role in agriculture today, Cope says he especially sees in his present career the need to explain the why behind production agriculture practices.

“I enjoy the opportunities I have to help people understand production agriculture


Did you know?

Former FFA member David Cope (left and below) says FFA taught him to learn from every experience, whether it was successful or not. Before taking on his present role as a senior loan officer team leader with Paddio Home Loans, Cope was superintendent at the University of Missouri Southwest Center.


and that as a nation we enjoy the safest, most abundant food supply in the world,” Cope says.

Through FFA, Cope says he forged relationships that continue to be prevalent today. He also learned the value in exploring new opportunities and how teamwork can help achieve a common goal.

“FFA taught me to learn from every experience, whether I was successful or unsuccessful, and to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat,” Cope says. “My FFA experiences helped me understand that with hard work, perseverance, and a little luck, you can succeed. “You might not always win, but even that will help shape your perspective as you grow older.”

*Scholarship applicants must meet all qualifications in application to be eligible **Grant and Ag Youth Funding applicants must be a member of a 4-H club or FFA chapter located in one of the 102 Missouri counties served by FCS Financial. Growing Relationships. Creating Opportunities. is a trademark of FCS Financial, ACA. WWW.MYFCSFINANCIAL.COM 1.800.444.3276 Find an FCS Financial office near you: As the next generation of agriculturists, we can't wait to see what you do. You show us every day that you are young leaders setting an example, serving communities and reaching goals. Let us
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Being raised in a family that tries to help others when they can, he wanted to try to do something to help. His parents, Travis and Crystal Narr of Wheeling, recently helped provide relief efforts for Nebraska ranchers and were the perfect place to start. Together they created a plan to establish communication with a Texas distribution site, raise necessary funds and gather needed supplies. The next step was to find a team to help.

Chillicothe FFA members Cooper Narr and Kase Singer; Chillicothe FFA alumni Kolby Singer; Carrollton FFA member Ross Kee; and Tina-Avalon FFA alumni Trent Grossman joined the effort, eager to get started. The group started advertising their relief effort immediately through social media in order to garner support on a very tight timeline. They sprang into action on a Monday evening and supplies were delivered to Texas Friday of the same week.

“We received an outpouring of support from at least five counties in our area,” Tucker says. “Everything from monetary donations to

livestock feed to bottled water. People were incredibly giving and supportive of our plan.”

Their FFA chapters were also supportive of this effort.

“Whenever I first heard about Tucker wanting to gather donations for those affected by the wildfire, I was blown away,” says Cyrsten Sarbaugh, an agricultural education teacher at Grand River Technical School and Chillicothe FFA advisor. “I had seen on Facebook just how much was destroyed by the fires and was proud of my student’s actions to help others.”

After supplies were gathered, the group set off to a supply distribution center in Canadian, in cooperation with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. The long drive didn’t stop them from springing into action the moment they arrived.

No one was at the distribution site to unload supplies, Tucker told KMZU radio in an interview. But, they were more than familiar with the equipment at the site and got to work unloading their own trailers, as well as others who were dropping off resources before heading back home to Missouri.

Having pulled off a large-scale service project that made a lasting impact in the agricultural industry, Tucker and his cohort share some words of advice for others who may be interested in doing the same.

“Never let your age keep you from dreaming big and helping others,” they say. “Include other people who share a similar passion and give them an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

This attitude took a moment of empathy from a simple conversation to a well-executed act of service.

“The boys truly embodied the last line of the FFA Motto, “Living to Serve”, Sarbaugh says. “I believe ‘Living to Serve’ is about serving everyone around you both near and far, no matter the circumstances, and the boys did just that. I think it is incredible that Tucker had a desire to help those in need and our community rallied around him to help another ag community. This generous act wasn’t done to earn praise, but to serve others who were in need.”

Tucker says there are plans in the works for additional relief efforts and another trip to Texas.

Hay and other supplies were delivered to the Texas Panhandle last month to assist farmers and ranchers affected by recent wildfires. Six northwest Missouri FFA members and alumni helped organize the relief efforts.

© 2024 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. ®, TM and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its a liates. In the U.S.A., products are distributed by BRP US Inc. BRP reserves the right, at any time, to discontinue or change speci cations, prices, designs, features, models or equipment without incurring obligation. CAN-AM OFF-ROAD VEHICLE: Some models depicted may include optional equipment. For side-by-side vehicles (SxS): Read the BRP side-by-side operator’s guide and watch the safety DVD before driving. Fasten lateral net and seat belt at all times. Operator must be at least 16 years old. Passenger must be at least 12 years old and able to hold handgrips and plant feet while seated against the backrest. SxSs are for o -road use only; never ride on paved surfaces or public roads. For your safety, the operator and passenger must wear a helmet, eye protection and other protective clothing. Always remember that riding, alcohol and drugs don’t mix. Never engage in stunt driving. Avoid excessive speed and be particularly careful on di cult terrain. Always ride responsibly and safely. Reap the bene ts of the Can-Am Defender this spring, on the farm or in the eld. Blue Level Sponsors of the Missouri FFA Convention. Learn more at Can-AmO Road.com THE
16 MFA supports you. The MFA Foundation has awarded more than 14,000 scholarships to students from rural communities where MFA Incorporated and MFA Oil Company and their affiliates conduct business. The foundation also contributes to the Missouri 4-H Foundation, Missouri FFA Association, Missouri Young Farmers Association and other programs consistent with its mission to provide educational opportunity for youth. twitter.com/ mfa_inc facebook.com/ MFAIncorporated mfafoundation .com instagram.com/ mfaincorporated Eligible high school seniors can apply for the scholar ship online from December 1, 2021 through February 15, 2022. www.mfafoundation.com 417-836-5638 Agriculture@ missouristate.edu @mostateag

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Here By the Owl

Golden Owl Awards recognize outstanding ag educators across the state.

no secret there is a shortage of teachers in the U.S. Fewer people are going into the field and those already teaching are burning out at an unprecedented rate. The shortage exists with agricultural educators, too. How concerning is this? If you ask a dozen FFA members who inspires them, challenges them, and motivates them every day, almost every single one would reply that their ag teacher does. Without dedicated teachers, it’s nearly impossible to secure the future of agriculture. But, how do we tackle this challenge?

One strategy is a new program the Missouri FFA Foundation launched this past fall called the Golden Owl Award®. Heather Dimitt-Fletcher, executive director of the Missouri FFA Foundation explains, “Our teachers are outstanding at preparing students to be the workforce that drives the agriculture industry. Missouri agricultural education is consistently recognized as one of the top in the country. Our teachers are a primary reason for the distinction. One of the objectives of the Missouri FFA Foundation is to support and honor our teachers. The Golden Owl Award program fits that objective.”

The Golden Owl Award, sponsored by Nationwide®, encourages students, parents, fellow teachers and other supporters to nominate outstanding agricultural teachers by summarizing what makes them the best in the state. Nationwide established the award to recognize the contributions of agriculture teachers and thank them for their continued educational efforts. “We are proud to thank and honor these hardworking

agricultural teachers for their dedication,” says Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide.

In its inaugural year, the Missouri Golden Owl Award program received almost 400 nominations for Missouri teachers. From those nominations, 18 teachers representing FFA’s 16 areas and the postsecondary/adult education programs were selected as semi-finalists and moved onto the second round of competition.

During the second round of competition, seven finalists from across the state were chosen. In late March and early April, each of those finalists are being surprised at their schools and presented with a $500 cash prize.

“While reading the nominations that came in for the Golden Owl Award, one thing became apparent, Missouri is extremely fortunate to have passionate agricultural education teachers,” DimittFletcher says. “Both selection committees had the same monumental task, narrowing down all those nominations to 18 semifinalists and then 7 finalists.”

On Thursday, April 18, at the Missouri FFA State Convention, all seven finalists will be recognized, with one named the Missouri Agricultural Educator of the Year. That winner will receive a $3,000 cash prize and the Golden Owl Award trophy. To learn more about the Golden Owl program, including this year’s honorees, visit https:// missouriffa.org/mo-ffafoundation/golden-owl.

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