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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



      “ I believe in the future of farming, with a faith born not of words, but of deeds.” That line, first uttered in the spring of 1928, is familiar to anyone who has ever been a freshman in an agriculture class in high school. Although today’s version has substituted the word “agriculture” for “farming’, for many of us those words still bring us goose bumps and remind us of an exciting time in our lives.

      This week is National FFA week, a time for members and alumni to celebrate all the great things associated with the FFA organization. My first contact with FFA happened when I was still in elementary school. In the upstairs hallway of our farmhouse there was a closet and it was always packed full of interesting things. I’m sure on some search for Christmas presents I stumbled across my first blue and gold jacket hanging there under a plastic dry cleaner bag. I was instantly amazed and wanted to know more.

     As a freshman, I wore that same jacket when I recited the creed. From my simple beginning as a Greenhand, onwards through the Chapter Farmer and finally earning my Iowa FFA degree, it was that blue jacket and the words of the creed that kept me motivated and working towards success.

     I would wear two other blue jackets besides that first hand me down one, first as a district officer then as the South Central State Vice President. Each of them held a special place and saw much more of the world than I ever thought possible. They went with me to Washington D.C. where I stood in the middle of history and discovered a love for that city. They took me to Kansas City many times, traveling with the advisor and other members of my chapter as we gathered for National Convention.

     They took me through winning contests and loosing elections. They were there with me as I met new friends and learned that the world around me was much larger than I had ever realized. Throughout my FFA career, with the motivation of hands down the finest FFA advisor and Ag Education instructor, I found my place and succeeded far beyond what I thought was possible.

     Today those memories stay with me. Although the jacket doesn’t fit as well as it used to there is still something very special about a young man or woman in blue corduroy and the friends I have met along the way have not only become friends, but family.

     This week we celebrate our belief in the next generation of American Agriculturalists and think back fondly of all those who have come before. As we find the landscape of agriculture changing again rapidly, these young men and women are placing themselves in perfect position to make the most of those challenges and to succeed far beyond our wildest dreams. To each of you FFA members, past and present, I wish you success and share with you that faith, of deeds, which will see you on into the future.

     See you next week….remember, we’re all in this together.