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Dear high school student,

“Who wouldn’t want to join an organization that could potentially travel across the United States and learn about agriculture?!”

While in high school, this question ran through my mind and ultimately led me to join Future Farmers of America (FFA). I joined FFA my freshman year of high school but did not get really involved until the second half of the year. Throughout my FFA career, I could particpate in essay contests, dairy judging, prepared public speaking, and many more events. My time dictated my involvement, so I choose specific areas aligning with personal areas to excel.

The greatest dairy judging coach ever - my dad!

The greatest dairy judging coach ever – my dad!

My sisters and I attended to John Glenn High School in northern Indiana. Coming from a dairy background, we were all interested in participating on a dairy judging team. While we were not at the high school at the same time, my dad decided to start a dairy judging team. Since my sisters are six to eight years older than me, I cannot begin to explain how successful their teams were. However, the teams that I was a part of allowed me to travel to Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.

Our Dairy Judging Team at World Dairy Expo in 2017

Our Dairy Judging Team at World Dairy Expo in 2017

What is dairy judging? When you attend a contest, four heifers or four cows are showcased in front of you and you have to decide “best to last” and rank them in order. The last part of the contest includes giving a mini speech justifying your placings on the previous class. Dairy judging taught me how to speak publicly — skills I utilize while talking to consumers. I knew the parts of the animals that consumers asked about and I was better prepared to navigate questions.

Happy National FFA Week!

FFA provided me many high school opportunities I will never forget! FFA taught me many life skills that I continue using while in college and while advocating for dairy! If your school offers the program, I suggest trying it and/or finding a contest or community service activity that sparks your interest.

Take the first step, you won’t regret it!

 

Yours in Blue and Gold,

Grace Klopfenstein, Dairy Ambassador 2018-2019