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Nebraska FFA officers announced

A Plainview FFA member was named the new state FFA president at the 96th annual state convention.

Curt Arens, Editor, Nebraska Farmer

April 17, 2024

4 Min Read
The new state FFA officer team
NEW TEAM: The new state FFA officer team includes (from left) Brynn Almgren, Stuart; Claire Woeppel, Chambers; Calie Cockburn, Emerson-Hubbard; Trey Stewart, Wisner-Pilger; Alexa Tollman, Crawford; Peyton Hinrichs, Meridian; and Reagan Choat, Plainview. Nebraska FFA Foundation

Plainview FFA member Reagan Choat will lead the 2024-25 Nebraska FFA officer team as state president.

Choat, along with six other state FFA officers, was named during the final session of the 96th annual Nebraska State FFA Convention held the first week of April, with more than 7,000 FFA members from across the state descending on Lincoln for the event.

The state secretary is Brynn Almgren, from Stuart FFA. State vice presidents include Trey Stewart, Wisner-Pilger FFA; Calie Cockburn, Emerson-Hubbard FFA; Claire Woeppel, Chambers FFA; Alexa Tollman, Crawford FFA; and Peyton Hinrichs, Meridian FFA.

These new officers were selected from a field of 19 candidates, with 12 going into the final round of interviews.

Elizabeth Hodges - State officer candidates huddled up as the new officer slate was being named at the 96th annual Nebraska State FFA Convention

Pitfall of comparison

Thomas Perrin, retiring state president, spoke during his retiring address at the convention about finding true value within oneself and avoiding the pitfalls of always comparing oneself with others.

“It was a brisk, cool, fall October morning,” Perrin said, “and we were all headed to the field to continue combining corn. I was in the eighth grade, and I was driving a grain cart.”

Perrin talked about the competition he felt with his older brother at the time and how he compared himself to his brother in everything he did.

“This was another opportunity for me to compete with my older brother and show my dad that I was a great grain cart driver,” Perrin continued. “I eagerly went to the tractor, went through my inspections, and it was off to the races. I was getting corn from the combine and transporting it, but all I heard from my dad was, ‘Thomas, slow down,’ and ‘Thomas, you can’t drive there,’ and ‘Thomas, where are you going?’”

While Perrin said that he wanted to impress his father, he felt at the time that he was doing everything wrong.

“I started to get frustrated,” he recalled. “My older brother was doing better than I was, and I wasn’t enjoying the job.”

Comparing himself to others, whether it was driving a grain cart, getting good grades or participating school activities, Perrin placed great value in competing well. “But when I didn’t place well in these competitions, I was overwhelmed with thoughts of comparison,” he said.

“Why do so many people recall information better than I do?” Perrin asked himself. “This prevented me from finding true joy from being involved. I let comparisons rule my life.”

Earlier this year, after Perrin moved to college, he found himself struggling, he told the FFA audience. “So, I called my grandpa,” he said. “He helped me realize that comparing myself to others was a thief of joy. It makes me feel tired, overwhelmed and dissatisfied.”

Perrin noted that if we continue to compare ourselves to others, whether it is in sports, social media, FFA or even with siblings, we can never find joy in our activities.

“Each of us has characteristics that help us make decisions and find value in our thoughts and actions. With these characteristics,” Perrin said, “we have value as an individual. We need to try to see that value and self-worth. This seems daunting and impossible, but not if we do a few things to see that value.”

He suggested finding value within oneself,  and understanding that everyone has a different self-worth. Understanding that self-worth gives each person a reason to get out of bed in the morning and not to dwell on failures, he added. Avoiding the pitfalls of comparison with others will allow a person to find the value they possess and change their lives for the better, he said.

State degrees

In addition to naming new state officers, the Nebraska FFA degree was bestowed on 832 students during the convention.

Kurt Heideman, advisor for the Bishop Neumann FFA chapter in Wahoo, received the Gary Scharf Helping Hand Award, recognizing a Nebraska ag teacher and FFA advisor for their efforts in helping others in the school and community through their vocation in agriculture education and FFA.

Learn more about the recently completed FFA convention at

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About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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