Utah State University offers a wide variety of student clubs and organizations.
The Future Farmers of America is one of these organizations that strives to give students an edge in their future professions and provide service opportunities through their monthly activities.
Recently, the USU collegiate FFA chapter celebrated FFA Week. Each year in February, chapters across the country hold activities to celebrate the FFA and all that it stands for.
For FFA week this year, the USU chapter organized a “Swing and Service” activity. Chapter members worked together to build picnic tables for the Willow Park Zoo. Afterwards, a swing dancing event was held at the Cache Valley Fun Park.
Chapter president Tiffany Frank said this activity was a great opportunity for those involved with the chapter.
“We met some great supporters who really want to see us succeed in life and helped create a great opportunity for us to learn to work together as chapter members, with community members, and discover new talents and skills,” she said.
Frank has been involved with FFA for the past six years through high school and college. Throughout her time in FFA, Frank has served in many leadership roles.
“I love being a leader and wouldn’t consider the situations different depending on positions,” she said. “I enjoy serving my members and peers in their development and being there to sacrifice for them, so they can achieve.”
Frank loves the opportunities FFA has given her to build relationships with members.
“Getting to know my members is a joyful thing for me. I love meeting people who have such great goals and dreams and I love that they have become a part of my experience in this program,” she said. “I am able to do one of my favorite things — serve them to make their experience better. I love to see others experience new things and witness their success.”
Frank knows the value FFA has had for her own personal life, as well as for young people across the nation.
“Every state is different but has the same mission and vision when it comes to the organization. It is important everywhere because of the young people that are inspired to do good now and in the future. This is so important to me because I have experienced first hand the change this organization has on the young people and the people they become because of their involvement,” she said.
Although Frank did not grow up on a farm or in an agricultural environment, she still has a great passion for agriculture and the FFA program.
“FFA creates the perfect opportunities for members to grow personally, career based, and gain confidence as future leaders,” she said. “I never grew up on a farm but this organization helped me discover the passion I had for ag., the power I had to not only develop a future for myself in agriculture but the nation as well, my community, my family, and those that come into contact with me.”
Frank wants students to know that those involved with the program are extremely passionate about agriculture and what they do in FFA.
“A common conception is that we are all hicks or farm kids, but that is not the the whole truth. We are just regular people who have a passion to develop leadership qualities, serve others, find careers, advocate for agriculture and find our best selves, and that is exactly what you’ll experience,” she said.
Sophomore Jessica Potter is a member of the USU collegiate FFA chapter. Potter has been involved through her high school chapter and the collegiate chapter for a total of six years. Currently, Potter is serving as the treasurer of the USU chapter. She has a great passion for the program.
“FFA is important to me because it promotes premier leadership, personal growth and career success. I have a strong background in agriculture and I love that this organization promotes diversity and leadership in agriculture,” she said. “It provides many great opportunities for its members and it aids in teaching them skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. FFA has been a major part of my life and I am so thankful for it.”
Potter wants USU students to know FFA is not just for those who were involved with the organization in high school. Anyone who is interested in service opportunities is encouraged to join.
“Students do not need to have been an FFA member in high school to become a member of our chapter,” she said. “Students who are interested in being involved in a fun, good club that will give them opportunities to be involved in something bigger than themselves and to be a part of service activities. We also have a lot of fun at our activities.”
Junior Hailee Garrett has been involved with the FFA organization since her freshman year of high school. With eight years of experience, Garrett said FFA has helped her become who she is today.
“It has shaped who I am as a person. It’s crazy to think a high school club could do that to someone, but in my case, it definitely did. I have always been involved in agriculture growing up on a cattle ranch, but I never quite understood just how passionate I was for it until I joined FFA,” she said.
USU’s collegiate chapter is very involved with current high school members in the state of Utah and with the alumni organization.
“We serve as an Alumni chapter for the State FFA Association. We try to meet the needs of Utah FFA and help them in any way we can,” Garrett said. “We travel around the state acting as judges for various contests for the high school FFA’s and even help run the State FFA Convention in Cedar City, as well as the State FFA Career Development Events (CDE’s) which are held here on campus every spring.”
Potter, Frank and Garrett are all agricultural education majors because of their passion for the FFA program and American agriculture.
“It helped me realize my passion and want to spend the rest of my life sharing that passion with my students. This program is important across the nation, because every member has a story similar to mine,” Garrett said.
Tyson Sorenson, advisor of the collegiate FFA chapter, said students are able to build leadership, communication and various technical job skills by being involved in FFA. The USU chapter focuses on helping members develop skills and serve people around them.
“We partner with Utah FFA in various activities that benefit members across Utah. Other things we do are local industry tours, guest speakers, judge and facilitate career development events for high school students, and more. We also do a lot of fun activities like our annual social,” Sorenson said.
USU’s chapter has about 60 active members but would love to have more students join.
“To join, just come to an activity and visit with any of the officers. All students are welcome at all of our activities, regardless of whether they are official members,” Sorenson said.
Frank encourages students to join as a result of the great opportunities they will have for networking, service and building relationships.
“If you are considering joining our chapter, do it. You will not regret it for a moment. Our members are so welcoming. We will create some of the greatest opportunities for you,” Frank said. “I have personally met some amazing college students, and community members, businessmen, and leaders of Utah who are willing to help you in your endeavors. Come try it out and I assure you, you’ll stick around.