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Each FFA officer presented a retiring address.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

April 29, 2015

2 Min Read

Before the 2009-2010 Indiana FFA officers became 'has-beens,' the joking term used lovingly amongst past state officers once their term ends, each addressed the 2,500 members of the audience with a retiring speech they had written themselves. And by the way, the retiring group is anything but has-beens, look at them to do exciting things in the future.

Six of the seven are enrolling in the Purdue University School of Agriculture this fall. One, Blair Boyer, is headed to Oklahoma State, to follow in her big brother's footsteps in agriculture.

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Retiring officers included: Travis Martin, Carroll at Flora FFA, president: Blair Boyer, Tipton, secretary; Emmy Kratz, Prairie- Heights, northern region vice-president; Joe Rust, Seymour, Southern Region vice-president; Daniel Bechman, Franklin, treasurer; Heidi Melton, Shenandoah, reporter; and Kyle Malcolm, Eastside FFA.

In his retiring address, Daniel Bechman, Franklin, kept the crow engaged with his energetic 'put downs' of the elusive 'what if.' His message was that if you live you're life worried about the 'what if' or what could happen, you won't reach your full potential.

Instead, focus on what you can do, and do it, Bechman said. He related the story of a young high school student, a former football teammate of Bechman's who is now a leukemia patient. He and his family have battled it for more than six months. And while he has a long ways to go, he is making progress, with the support of his family, who continue to fight instead of worrying about 'what if the treatment doesn't work?' or 'will he ever get to play football again.'

Every speech was motivational in nature. Heidi Melton brought out a large mirror, a free-standing mirror that you see in some older homes, and talked about looking at yourself in the mirror. Her point was whether you see the person you want to see. If not, you can change it.

Joe Rust entertained the crowd with stories of some of his boyhood antics, including busting trees with a four-wheeler just for fun. He told the rest of the story, too, however, noting that their 'fun' eventually did serious damage to the Gator and left it unusable when it was really needed.   

Each officer was introduced by two to four family members important to them. The seven-officer team wrote not only these speeches, but wrote and produced the script for the entire convention.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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