November 3, 2022
In being named secretary of the National FFA Officer Team for 2022-23, Jessica Herr now joins a small group of Pennsylvania FFA members that have achieved this difficult feat.
She is just the 12th Pennsylvania FFA member to be nominated to the national team, the first Pennsylvanian elected to the team since 2001-02 and the state’s first female national FFA member.
“This is huge! Over 850,000 members across the United States. Each state is allowed to send one candidate each year. We always send excellent candidates,” says Mike Brammer, Pennsylvania state FFA advisor. “Shows how tough this process is and how good these young people are.”
Elio Chiarelli Jr. was the last Pennsylvania FFA member to be nominated to the national team in 2001-02. He was Eastern Region vice president that year. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1973-74, when Doyle Waybright was nominated vice president of what was then known as the North Atlantic Region.
BIG ACHIEVEMENT: Herr, 20, from Lancaster County, is the first Pennsylvania FFA member named to the national team since 2001-02 and only the 12th named to the team since 1928.
Herr, a former member of Garden Spot FFA in Lancaster County, graduated from Lampeter Strasburg High School. She served as chapter secretary and then state secretary in 2020-21. Her sister was one of her chapter FFA advisors and an agriculture teacher. Herr, 20, is the daughter of Eric and Melissa Herr.
Brammer says Herr brings some unique qualities to the post. “Humility, empathy for others, a caring and giving attitude, knowledge of the agriculture industry, and more,” he says. “Jess has a rare quality that makes everyone feel good and welcome, and included.”
While he emphasized that Herr’s achievement is all about her going through a difficult process and achieving, he also hopes it will encourage other students in the future.
“I think students who met her in the past when she served as a state officer will be proud and realize if you want something, go for it! I think this inspires others to want to do more and be more throughout their FFA career,” he says. “It also speaks to Pennsylvania agriculture education [and] FFA in our schools. Our teachers are making a difference in the students’ lives. Our programs are good, and every student in every school should experience agriculture education to understand the food and fiber industry.”
About the Author(s)
Editor, American Agriculturist
Chris Torres, editor of American Agriculturist, previously worked at Lancaster Farming, where he started in 2006 as a staff writer and later became regional editor. Torres is a seven-time winner of the Keystone Press Awards, handed out by the Pennsylvania Press Association, and he is a Pennsylvania State University graduate.
Torres says he wants American Agriculturist to be farmers' "go-to product, continuing the legacy and high standard (former American Agriculturist editor) John Vogel has set." Torres succeeds Vogel, who retired after 47 years with Farm Progress and its related publications.
"The news business is a challenging job," Torres says. "It makes you think outside your small box, and you have to formulate what the reader wants to see from the overall product. It's rewarding to see a nice product in the end."
Torres' family is based in Lebanon County, Pa. His wife grew up on a small farm in Berks County, Pa., where they raised corn, soybeans, feeder cattle and more. Torres and his wife are parents to three young boys.
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