By: Jillian Raycraft
Sophomore, Agricultural Business major
Agriculture has come to play a monumental role in my life. From the time I was incredibly little, attempting to drag a siphon down a ditch for my father with all my five-year-old body’s might, to the more recent honor of receiving my American FFA Degree, I have been shaped and molded by this incredible industry. As I get older, my passion, knowledge and involvement in the field of agriculture has only began to grow; in large part, thanks to the FFA Organization that swept me off my feet.
Early on in high school, I became aware of the endless opportunities that not only my local FFA Chapter had to offer me, but the entire FFA Organization as well. FFA added a plethora of life skills to my tool belt through the leadership opportunities, hands-on projects, and methods of promoting advocacy for any field. Over the years, my time in FFA has become invaluable to me.
I have evolved through the organization – holding officer positions, showing livestock, launching fundraisers, growing crops, and attending character building conferences and conventions. However, I knew my time in FFA would not be complete without achieving The American FFA Degree. This degree is awarded to the members who have demonstrated the highest level of dedication. Less than 1% of members qualify to receive one of the organizations highest honors.
I set my sights on this prestigious award as a high school
freshman. Last week, I accomplished my five yearlong goal. Walking across the stage at National Convention, wearing the gold key and chain while receiving my American FFA Degree, was the highlight of my FFA career thus far.
It is a known fact that our Nation is one of the most diverse countries in the world. It was not until I spent a week in Indianapolis, Indiana with thousands of people from each state coming together for one greater purpose that I came to fully appreciate the melting pot of a nation I live in.
As I was surrounded by 65,000 other members and guests at the National FFA Convention, I had never been more proud to represent those names listed on my jacket – my home state of California, my hometown of Dixon, and my last name, one that has used agriculture as a way of life for over four generations.