Six college students from around the nation are selected each year to represent more than 600,000 FFA members nationwide as national FFA officers. They travel more than 100,000 miles attending state conventions, leadership workshops and partnership visits to meet with students, educators, politicians and industry leaders. The Wisconsin Association of FFA has selected Hannah Taylor as its candidate to seek a national FFA officer position.
Taylor is the daughter of Todd and Lynnette Taylor of Poynette, Wis. Her agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor is Kessa LaBlanc.
An excitement and interest in agriculture came to Taylor early, as she grew up on a sheep farm with a flock of more than 300 head. Her father is the shepherd for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Sheep Research Farm. Firsthand experiences and learning from her father led to her development of a Supervised Agricultural Experience program in the area of sheep entrepreneurship.
“In third grade, my parents allowed me to select a breed of sheep that I would be able to develop and show on my own,” Taylor says. “After research and watching national shows we would travel to, I selected Southdowns. During high school, my project had grown to a flock of 20 registered Southdown breeding sheep. I focused my program on improving genetics in the flock in order to market seedstock to commercial producers.
“As my project progressed, I began to mentor young sheep showman, teaching them how to feed, train and care for their animals,” Taylor says. “I would help them get ready for shows and instruct them on showmanship. My goal throughout this work was to increase the amount of interest in the sheep project in my area.”
Taylor’s whole family has been engaged with FFA. At a young age she already knew that she wanted to be a member. Being a member of the state FFA band has been a highlight of her FFA career, as well as serving as a 2016-17 state FFA reporter.
EXPERIENCE: Hannah Taylor served as a 2016-17 Wisconsin FFA officer.
“Throughout my time in FFA, I’ve had many opportunities to speak with people who knew very little about agriculture, especially at county and state fairs,” Taylor explains. “It was during these conversations that I realized how much I love teaching the public about agriculture. I hope to use my agricultural communications degree to obtain a career where I can advocate for agriculture. Ideally, I would love to be an agriculture broadcaster or work in public relations with an agricultural company so that I can help people understand the practices farmers are using to produce food.”
Taylor attends Kansas State University, studying agricultural communications and journalism.
In preparation for the weeklong interview process that comprises the national FFA officer selection, Taylor will complete several formal trainings and take on an enormous amount of study in the topics of agriculture, agricultural education and FFA. She also will meet twice weekly with two coaches who will lend support and direction leading up to the National FFA Convention, which is in late October in Indianapolis.
“If elected as a national FFA officer, I want to pay it forward and make an impact on FFA members both directly and indirectly,” Taylor says.
Giebel lives in Baraboo, Wis.