Meet the 2012-2013 Nebraska State FFA Officers
Each year at the state convention, students compete for the highest leadership position they can hold in Nebraska, State FFA Officer. The state officers will help to lead the organization throughout the year, and will promote FFA across the state. This year, seven new officers were chosen from across the state.
Even though the officers have a variation of backgrounds and experiences, they all have one goal in common, and that is to help promote agriculture and be strong leaders for Nebraska FFA.
Alix Mashino is a third generation farmer and rancher. Her family raises corn, alfalfa, wheat, beans, oats and rye. They also run 250 cow/calf pairs, and background feed cattle through the fall, winter and spring. Her SAE included a candy making business when she first started and a diversified agricultural program the rest of her high school years. She has SAE projects in beef production, placement and entrepreneurship. She plans to attend UNL and study agricultural education with minors in communication and entrepreneurship.
Mashino believes that FFA has really helped her to appreciate agriculture. “It has opened my eyes to the importance of agriculture, and being an advocate. My Mom and Dad have helped me understand the importance of agriculture in our lives and others. I didn’t really appreciate it when I was younger but now I do. FFA brings people from all over the country together to work towards a common goal,” she said.
Serving as a state officer is a life-long dream come true. “It’s something that I have wanted to do since my freshman and sophomore years. I always looked up to them, so it’s extremely humbling and an awesome feeling to be in this position and know that I can have an impact on FFA member’s lives and agriculture,” Mashino said.
After completion of college, she plans to work in public relations in agriculture. She also wants to move back to a rural area of Nebraska and teach agriculture and be a FFA adviser.
Johnny Ference grew up on a farm and cattle ranch. His SAE included beef production and placement, where he helped on his family’s feedlot and also as a hired hand. Currently a senior, Ference plans to attend UNL to study agricultural education, agribusiness, agronomy and a minor in entrepreneurship.
Ference has been heavily involved in FFA, and believes the organization helps students to grow. “FFA is a group of kids with a common goal of being an advocate for agriculture. The group of people I’ve really enjoyed knowing and getting to know at different events across the nation,” he said.
He in honored to serve as the secretary for the coming year. “I know how much the FFA gave me, and I’m honored that I will be able to give it back to them. I will be able to show my passion for FFA on a bigger scale with the whole state of Nebraska. I am looking forward to meeting all the different members across the state through camps and chapter visits. I’m excited for the year and can’t wait for this experience. It will be a great year for the whole team and Nebraska FFA,” Florence said.
After finishing his studies, Florence plans to come back to his hometown and start a seed company with an agronomy business, as well as teach agriculture. His father is currently one of two ag teachers at the high school, and Florence thinks teaching with his father would be an amazing opportunity.
“He has always been there for me. I want to show my support to the younger kids just as he has been for me. I really like teaching, and showing youth how agriculture is a big part of the economy,” he said.
Doug Larsen grew up helping his father and grandfather on their ranch. His SAE included projects with cattle, sheep, hogs and a placement with a construction crew. He plans to attend UNL to study broadcast journalism, and is thinking about going into agricultural communications as well.
Larsen believes that FFA is more than just traditional agriculture. “There are so many aspects to FFA like leadership development, career development, building connections for the future, and so many more. My personal favorite part of FFA is the opportunity it gives you to meet so many different and extraordinary people. I have met so many close friends and also respected agriculture industry leaders through FFA,” he said.
Upon graduation from college, Larsen plans to work in a career in broadcast journalism.
Amber Burenheide grew up on a family farm where they raised sheep, cattle and swine. They also farm 800 acres of corn, soybeans and hay. Her SAE was diversified livestock placement. She will be attending UNL this fall and will be majoring in agribusiness with a minor in entrepreneurship.
FFA has given Burenheide life skills that she believes will help her in her future career. “FFA has given me an opportunity to grow in speaking skills and to learn more about agricultural by raising animals, showing cattle, sheep and pigs. FFA is something that is for everyone, and will continue to play an important role in my life even after I am no longer a member,” she said.
Burenheide will serve as a vice president this year, and is excited for the opportunity. “Being a member of the State Officer Team means a great deal to me because it gives me the opportunity to use my experiences and spread the news about what agricultural really is. My team is full of great people that are determined to do their best to promote FFA in Nebraska,” she said.
She continued, “FFA has been a big part of my family. Both my mom and dad were members. My parents are a big part of why I had the opportunity to have such great SAE projects. They support me in everything I do and accomplish.”
Her future plans include working in marketing of agricultural products or merchandising grain. She would also like to settle down near her hometown of Howells.
Andrew Ambriz originally grew up in Los Angeles, Calif. When he was 10, his family moved back to the farm in Nebraska, and he worked with his grandparents where they farmed 3,500 acres and had pigs, dairy and stock cattle. His SAE projects included placement on the family farm, and for another local farmer. He plans to attend UNL and will study either athletic training, meat science or food science and technology.
FFA has helped him to be more outgoing. “I was the shy little kid in the back of the room before I joined the organization. Once I started to get going, I really came out of my shell and became more outspoken, outgoing and more involved in all of my activities. It really set off the motivation I had inside me and was the driving force for me excelling, not just in FFA, but also school, with my family, and especially sports,” he said.
Ambriz has wanted to be a state FFA officer since his freshman year of high school. “I realized how much of an impact that state officer had on my life and how it kicked me into gear with setting more and more goals, and as a state officer I want to encourage everyone, especially those shy kids in the back of the room that they can realize their full potential,” he said.
Even though he is uncertain of his career path, he does know one thing, and that is that he wants to stay involved with FFA. He said, “My future plans are really wherever life decides to take me. However, I do plan on supporting and being a part of the FFA Organization throughout the rest of my life.”
Maci Lienemann lives on an seedstock Angus ranch where they raise 300 pairs. Her SAE included beef production and entrepreneurship. She runs her own small herd of seedstock cattle as well, where she utilizes artificial insemination and embryo transfer. She plans to attend UNL to study animal science and genetics.
To her, FFA has been about opportunities. “To me its about endless opportunities. Whatever you put in, you will get back out. That’s pretty neat. Whatever you want to do you can. That’s one of the greatest things. It is also an organization that promotes ag, and personally I think it’s the greatest industry we have and the most vital to our success,” she said.
Serving as a vice president is an honor for Lienemann. She said, “It’s an incredible opportunity to represent one of the greatest organizations in the country. I am really honored. I am looking forward to building relationships with the members, and be in a position to advocate for ag. I want to help people to understand how important ag is, and they can help others to learn.”
She plans on pursuing a career in the genetics research field, specially in cattle.
Brooke Jindra grew up working on the family farm where they raise corn, soybeans, wheat and have a feedlot. Her SAE included beef production. She raises Angus cattle, and started her business after purchasing cattle from her brother. She is currently a freshman an UNL where she is studying agribusiness.
Jindra loves FFA because of the experiences she has gained. “To me, FFA is an organization full of amazing opportunities. I’ve had so many experiences throughout it, ranging from showing cattle, to welding, to public speaking. I’ve always loved FFA because of the wide variety of experiences it offers. Also, agriculture is something that I’m very passionate about, and FFA has allowed me to expand that passion and learn more about it,” she said.
Being a member of the state officer team is a privilege to Jindra. “State officers are people that I have always had a lot of respect for, and now that I am one of them, I am very honored and excited to be representing Nebraska FFA. I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity to meeting members from across the state, and getting to hear about their own personal experiences in FFA,” she said.
Her future plans are to work in agriculture in some facet. “Long term, I would love to end up living in the country farming and raising cattle,” Jindra said.