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FFA members strike a pose

Everyone has that go-to stance when the camera comes out, even FFA members.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

May 3, 2023

12 Slides

You can tell a lot about a FFA contest team simply by looking at them. But when asked to take a photo, these members display their true selves.

I believe they can fall into nine categories, and to prove my point, I snapped photos from this year’s Missouri FFA convention.

Click through the photo gallery above to see which teams and FFA chapters modeled these groups the best. Here are the descriptions:

1. Party people. OK, I know these FFA members compete in a contest, but there is always that one who is there to show you just how much fun the entire experience can be. This year, it was Cole Pennington of the Cameron FFA chapter. Quick with a smile and peace sign. It’s all good Cole!

2. Rural rebels. These are the members who when asked if you can take a photo, they immediately cross their arms and lean back. I see you, Jason Boyd and Casey Price of Bowling Green FFA.

3. Cool cats. “Can I keep my shades on?” Of course you can Heston Alexander of Ava FFA; I know shades make the man! These members display personality and professionalism.

4. School spirits. No, they are not ghosts, but these contest team members bare their souls on their shirts in support of their high schools. Van-Far and Albany FFA members both came prepared.

5. Perfect posers. Arms wrapped. Hands in pockets. Smiles on. Click. Practice makes perfect for this group. I’m sure the Norborne FFA advisor must’ve prepared the knowledge team for more than the contest. They nailed their photo op!

6. Athletes. Yup, one word sums it up. You can tell these members have been in a school basketball, baseball or track team photo. Straight backs, arms crossed in front, hands clasped. Carter Wallpe, Grayson Thompson and Ben Mason of Higginsville FFA, you can let me know if I’m wrong. Or, they simply have their sport on a shirt, right Archie FFA?

7. Timid team. Some teams are simply shy. Super proud of Kelsie Hansel of Sullivan FFA, when a fellow team member didn’t know what to do for the photo, she walked them through it. “Just put your arm around my shoulder.” Encouragement goes a long way.

8. Happy helpers. These are the FFA members who gather the group and rush to make the photo happen. King City FFA went even further. They put a person in as a placeholder before the final team member arrived. So sorry, Kamdyn Carson, you were replaced with Bryson Schellhorn. Still giving you a shoutout!

9. Creative crew. These FFA members design their own shirts, like the Savannah FFA dairy foods team. They created a sweatshirt with a dairy cow front and center. Who doesn’t like that? Plus, it’s a keepsake to remember the experience.

I leave you with this:

FFA members, it truly doesn’t matter what group you fall in, simply find a contest team and compete. The skills learned — even if only taking a group photo — are worth it.

Advisors, it is a joy to interact with your students. They cause this ag journalist to giggle — a lot. But they are always respectful. You’ve done well.

Parents, continue to support their passion for FFA. They may not get on stage with that contest team, but they do impact others around them. Keep up the good work.

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About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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