Young People in Agriculture: Colorado State FFA President Kristen Schmidt
Hometown: Greeley, Colo.
School: 2012 graduate of Greeley West High School, currently taking a year off of school to serve as Colorado FFA state president, and will attend West Texas A&M University in the fall.
Q: What do you love about agriculture?
A: What don’t I love about agriculture?! People are truly what make the agriculture industry all that it is. On a daily basis agriculturalists pour their time, treasurers, and talents into producing the world’s food, fiber and fuel with no guarantee that their investments will turn a profit. Agriculturalists are durable, passionate and service minded; this character shapes the legacy of the industry.
Q: What is your background in agriculture, and how did you become interested in ag?
A: I have grown up with my roots in rodeo. My family has always had horses and if my sister and I weren’t mapping out our summer plans to hit every junior rodeo possible, we were in our coach’s arena preparing for the next local horse show. Our family also has dry land pasture grass in Morgan County that we lease out to cattle producers in the summer.
Q: What are your future plans in ag?
A: In the future I want to serve the agriculture industry as a journalist or broadcaster. In a time stricken by negative media coverage of our industry I look forward to telling agriculture’s true story. I also hope to plant my own stake in production agriculture by starting a cow/calf operation.
Q: What are you doing today to pursue those future plans?
A: Serving as a state FFA officer has given me countless opportunities to develop beneficial connections within the industry as well as grow tremendously as an individual. After completing my year of service to the Colorado FFA Association, I will pursue bachelor’s degrees in agriculture communications and agriculture business from West Texas A&M University. The people I meet along the way, the lessons I learn, and the education I receive will point me in the direction of my dreams; but the moments that will truly define my future plans will be those unexpected opportunities to take a risk or make a change.
Q: How are your current activities preparing you for that future?
A: Being a part of the 2012-2013 Colorado FFA State Officer Team provides me with opportunities to advocate for agriculture, educate the public about The National FFA Organization, and engage FFA members in an organization that cultivates passion for the agriculture industry. Each of these roles is training me to be an effective communicator in all situations. Throughout my year interactions have ranged from leadership development workshops with small groups of students at local high schools to representing American Agriculture and the National FFA organization in Tokyo, Japan during the annual Japanese AgriStation Conference. All of my interactions as a state officer will play a meaningful role in molding me into an influential communicator and knowledgeable producer.
Q: What leaves you optimistic about having a career in agriculture?
A: Interacting with FFA members — the future of agriculture — is all I need to stay optimistic about the future of our industry and the security of my career. This generation of passionate students is hungry for knowledge and full of challenging and thought provoking ideas. I have all the faith in the world that these students have the potential and the passion to lead the charge on meeting the world’s food and fiber needs.
Q: What do you think the agriculture industry will be like in 25 years?
A: In the future, I envision a fast-paced industry full of innovation. I believe that the future of agriculture is brighter than ever before and that technological advancements and smarter management practices on the horizon will carry agriculture into a future of higher yields with lower inputs. ❖
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