FFA students are fueled by a passion for agriculture
BROOKINGS, S.D. – In the world where we are so connected, we can also be so very disconnected from what truly sustains us. The average consumer rarely considers the vital role that farmers and ranchers play in their communities. Before a thick juicy steak or fresh vegetables end up on your plate, there are many steps and processes that take place before it gets there.
Passion comes easily for most farmers and ranchers. Their roles in the world are more than just a job, it’s a way of life that they love, rooted in a deep pride in their work and a common purpose that everyone involved in agriculture shares: to provide the world with quality food, fuel, feed and fiber.
One of the aims and purposes of FFA is to increase awareness of the global and technological importance of the role that agriculture plays in each and every one of our lives.
Matea Gordon, a senior from the Sturgis FFA Chapter, shares this passion. She has shown great enthusiasm for educating her community and state about the vital industry. She has written more than 25 articles for her high school newspaper about FFA and ag-related news. Because of her efforts, she received this year’s South Dakota State FFA Agriculture Communications Proficiency Award.
“I personally, really enjoy having a passion for agriculture and I really enjoy FFA because of the opportunities it gives youth like me and because you are able to meet youth from all across the state who share the same passion and have the same ideals and values. I think it is just so impactful to teach people about agriculture considering that it’s in every single aspect of our daily lives and plays a big part in our world,” she said.
The Agricultural Communications Career Development Event challenges students to effectively communicate and advocate to consumers about the crucial importance of the industry and to share FFA’s story. Students develop a written media plan using a variety of media including broadcast, print, social media, press releases, blogs, flyers and brochures. Students learn a variety of communication, collaboration, creativity, technical and presentation skills.
Next year Gordon will be attending South Dakota State University, majoring in Agriculture Business.
“I really enjoy math and finance but also marketing and graphic design,” she said. “I felt this was the best degree to encompass all of those interests.”
During her FFA career, Gordon has also won the National FFA Agriscience Fair twice for her projects – “What Were People’s Perceptions of Prescribed Fire as a Land Management Tool,” and “People’s Perceptions Towards Hemp as Being Legalized as an Agricultural Crop.” The science fair competition uses scientific principles and emerging technologies to solve complex problems related to agriculture, food, and natural resources.
The soon-to-be college freshman additionally raises and shows Boer meat goats winning this year’s State Proficiency Award, serves as the Sturgis FFA Chapter Vice President, and will also be receiving her State FFA degree and competing in the meats judging at this year’s State FFA Convention.
During the meats judging completion “we identify different cuts of meat, grade them, put them in order of what we feel is the best cut of meat to the worst,” Gordon said.
She encourages all high school students to take agriculture education and join FFA.
“You will definitely meet new friends and learn lifelong skills that I know I’ve used and will continue to use,” said Gordon.
Tune into ConnectCenter1.tv to watch the State Degree Award ceremony during the second session of the South Dakota State FFA Convention at 6 p.m. MST.