Do you ever wake up in the morning, look out your window and see the sun rising with the most beautiful colors ever? Everyday farm families from across the nation rise with the sun to help produce wholesome products that help feed the world. These are the people that provide us with the best food possible. Farmers and FFA members from across the nation have come together to help share their vision and mission by Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live and Living to Serve.
Throughout my journey as an FFA member, I have had many different opportunities, but one thing never changed. At each event, no matter where I was, the FFA Officers would recite the Opening Ceremony. Each officer would state where they were stationed and why they were stationed there.
Two parts that always stood out to me were those of Vice President and President. I remember thinking about their words very carefully the first time I had to say them. As my adviser asked me, “Madam Vice President, why do you keep a plow at you station?” I answered, “The plow is the symbol of labor and tillage of the soil. Without labor, neither knowledge nor wisdom can accomplish much. My duties require me to assist at all times in directing the work of our organization. I preside over meetings in the absence of our president, whose place is beneath the rising sun.” My advisor then asked, “Why is the president so stationed?” I responded, “The rising sun is the token of a new era in agriculture. If we will follow the leadership of our president, we shall be led out of the darkness of selfishness and into the glorious sunlight of brotherhood and cooperation.” As I finished my part to the Opening Ceremony, I took a second to think about how these words related to my life back home.
Growing up on my family’s farm, I was no stranger to early mornings or late nights. The early mornings and late nights didn’t stop when I started my journey through the FFA world. There were numerous days I woke hours before the sun to head to camp or an event to help others learn about what FFA has to offer. As I talked with countless students about their opportunities and the endless possibilities in FFA, I couldn’t help but think back to my farm and the endless possibilities there.
Three years later I never imagined I would be referring back to the FFA Opening Ceremony. As I continue my involvement with agriculture through Organic Valley, I reminisce about the fact that no matter where I was, the Opening Ceremony was always spoken aloud. Today I look around me at the farmers that are a part of Organic Valley, and although it has been 25 years since we started, that same vision that the original farmers had coming together to develop new opportunities holds true today.
The farmers that surround me today continue to show me that no matter where they are or the obstacles they may encounter, one thing that never changes is belief in what they are doing. When you have such a strong passion for what you do, obstacles and challenges will be overcome, and you will have the opportunity to achieve great things.
Just as farmers reflect on the rising sun each day when they head to the barn, fields or pastures to ensure the healthiest food for consumers, FFA member rise with the sun to help open new doors for agricultural leadership and growth. These individuals come together to create a bright future and will continue to believe in what they are doing with the support of Organic Valley and their membership.
Organic Valley has long supported the education of our next generation of family farmers as a proud sponsor of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). We look forward to the next generation of agri-culture that these young farmers will create.