"How Are You A Part of Agriculture?" by State Vice-President, Amber Bridges
When wearing the blue jacket, it’s pretty common for people to ask you how you are connected to agriculture. For some people, the answer to that question could be really easy to answer, as they come from a traditional agricultural background whether their field of experience lies within animal production, crop production, or even from owning their own little piece of land where they grow or produce goods for their family. But for me, it’s the total opposite. When it comes to the traditional agricultural life, the closest I ever came to that was having dogs and cats as pets. The closest thing to field crop production that I came to was when my third grade teacher grew beans with us as a class project. That was my agricultural background until my freshman year of high school.
In the spring semester of my eight grade year, the freshmen counselor came to speak to all of the students that would be attending West Ouachita High School the following year. Knowing that our town really isn't that big into agriculture and it doesn't involve many students within that lifestyle, she sold the agriscience class to many students by saying the if you take this class for two years, you won't have to take a senior science. Hearing those words, I instantly knew that I would be taking an agriscience class the first two years while I was at West Ouachita. Fast forward some time and I was walking into agriscience I with the advisor, Ms. Martin. She was the individual that kickstarted my career and interest in not just FFA, but agriculture. Going to the 212/360 conference allowed me to see that not only are the people in this organization from all different kinds of agricultural backgrounds, but many also had backgrounds just like mine. It showed me that no matter what or where you came from, you could still be a part of agriculture. Competing in the many difference CDEs let me know that agriculture isn't just about the animals, the farmer and their crops. It's also about the floral designers creating your prom corsage and the eighteen-wheeler drivers hauling logs from the cutting site in the forest to the mills that all play a major role in Louisiana agriculture. Without those truck drivers, our state's number one commodity would not be forestry.
Being a part of FFA, I was given the opportunity to experience the typical, most well-known side of agriculture. From my sophomore to my senior year of high school, I had the chance to show swine and get to experience the joys and discomforts of raising livestock. I was not aware of the hard work that some people put into their projects. Because of my experiences within the FFA, I have grown to learn more about the traditional agricultural lifestyle and have a newfound appreciation for those individuals who do so. I may not have come from an agricultural background or been exposed to that way of life during my younger years, but my connection to agriculture is there. Being a part of the FFA has allowed for me to ignite a passion that I never knew I had before. When I am now asked how I am a part of agriculture, I proudly day that I live and enjoy all the different opportunities and chances that this organization and agriculture gives you.