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How do you explain FFA to a non-agriculture person?

Tom J. Bechman Evan Coblentz
EXPLAINING FFA: Evan Coblentz doesn’t come from an ag background. He says the best way to explain what he does in FFA to family and friends is to show them how he has grown and matured from his experiences in the organization.
FFA Corner: This Indiana state officer strives to show his family and friends how he’s changed from his involvement in FFA.

If you read my introductory biography in the December Indiana Prairie Farmer, you know that I don’t come from an agricultural background. While this has been a blessing because of the diverse perspective I bring to agricultural discussions, it’s been a challenge in various other ways.

Explaining to my family and friends the value of FFA and agriculture has been a daunting task at times. How do I describe the impact and value of something they know next to nothing about?

It is often said that “seeing is believing,” but that’s a lot easier said than done. Showing them the world of agriculture and FFA continues to be increasingly difficult in the ever-changing world we live in today. Restrictions put in place reduce the way we reach others, but that shouldn’t stop us from being advocates for the industry that makes the world go around.

Let your experiences with agriculture and FFA transform you. Actions speak much louder than words, so embrace the ways agriculture has changed your life. Showing how I’ve changed over the years has become one of my favorite things about my weekends home as a state officer.

When I get the chance to sit down with family or friends, I share what we’ve been doing for Indiana FFA. Often, they have no frame of reference for the conferences we put on, our business and industry visits, or what all the acronyms we use mean. I still provide them with a brief update, but I make the choice to focus more on the transforming power of agriculture and FFA.

Help them see

I choose to share the challenges and triumphs of our year of service. I choose to share the valuable skills I am learning. A favorite story of mine to share is that of the quiet, shy kid who blossomed and grew into themselves over the course of one short weekend at the Indiana FFA Leadership Center.

I choose to share the ways in which I have become a better communicator and problem-solver. I share the pride I have for our organization and industry, because we continue to embrace the challenges we face and to lead with selfless hearts. Because of agriculture, we can have compassion for others. If we change the way we do life, others will begin to understand the impact agriculture and FFA can have.

Personally, it is a huge triumph when someone tells me ways they have seen me mature and grow in my time in FFA. This means I have embraced the transforming power of agriculture, and they can begin to see the value and impact of what we do.

I firmly believe Indiana agriculture will continue to be a leading source of hope throughout these trying times. We must continue to rise to the occasion and lean into the transforming power of agriculture to show others the value of what we do.

Coblentz is the 2020-21 Indiana FFA treasurer. He hails from the Wawasee FFA Chapter.

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