A conversation with Shelby Faulkner, Ohio FFA president

OCJ: First, could you tell us about your background? Where are you from and what sparked your interest in the FFA?

Shelby: I have grown up on a grain farm in Champaign County my entire life. In the third grade I joined 4-H, showing market lambs and taking a sewing project. I continued both of these projects and various others. Agriculture has always been a part of my life. As an eighth grade student at Graham Middle School, I was required to take a 9-week long course in agriculture. I knew what FFA was, but I had never considered joining. My teacher, Mrs. Wallace, found out that my dad was a farmer and made it her mission to get me to join her class and the FFA. At first I resisted, but I finally gave in. That was the best decision that I have ever made.


OCJ: What are some of your favorite FFA memories before serving as a State Officer?

Shelby: Before serving as a State Officer, some of my favorite FFA memories were made practicing for CDEs. Throughout my years in high school, I competed in the Creed contest, job interview, food science, general livestock judging, grain merchandising, cooperatives and dairy products contests. During high school, I think I spent more time in the Ag room than I did at home. During these long hours practicing for CDE’s, I made some of my best friends.

OCJ: In your last year as a State Officer, you made a whole new set of memories and experiences. What are some of your favorites?

Shelby: Some of my favorite memories from the past year were made at chapter visits and leadership nights. I will never forget the Ridgedale FFA Chapter because the students accidentally locked me in the tool cage and then could not find the keys to let me out. Another memorable visit was with the Kenton FFA Chapter. I had the opportunity to eat lunch with the officers and we were able to get to know each other a lot better. The Ben Logan leadership night was definitely different than the rest. We spent hours racing through inflatables and I also had the opportunity to chat with some members from the Van Buren FFA Chapter. These are just a few of the hundreds of fantastic memories that I made this past year.

OCJ: How was your first experience at State Convention as an officer? What were some of the highlights?

Shelby: My first experience at State Convention as an officer was indescribable. It was great seeing all of the hard work that my teammates and I had put in throughout the year pay off. The major highlight of convention is being reunited with the members that I met throughout the year and also meeting members that I had not had the opportunity to meet. Another major highlight of convention is watching the excitement as members are awarded for the work that they have done.

OCJ: What are your plans for the coming year serving as the President?

Shelby: As President, I plan to work with my fellow teammates to meet and communicate with as many FFA members as we possibly can.

OCJ: Do you have any specific goals you hope to accomplish in the next year?

Shelby: This year, it is my goal for my fellow officers and I to actively use social media to recognize FFA members and their accomplishments. Also, I would like to keep Ohio FFA members updated on the happenings of our team through pictures and possibly a blog. One large goal that I have for my team is to stay safe on the roads.

OCJ: What are your plans for the future, beyond FFA?

Shelby: Beyond my FFA career, I plan on returning to The Ohio State University and completing my degrees in Agricultural Communication and Agricultural Education and Extension. After graduating, I hope to either teach high school agriculture or obtain a public relations position with an agricultural company.

OCJ: How has FFA changed your life?

Shelby: FFA has made me who I am today. Going into high school, I was not confident in myself and really had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. As a freshman, my advisor encouraged me to participate in the Creed public speaking contest. I agreed and realized not only how much fun FFA can be, but also its role in helping me learn vital skills like communication. The FFA opened my eyes to the thousands of careers in agriculture.

OCJ: What are the most important things you have learned in FFA?

Shelby: The most important things that I have learned in FFA are communication skills, self-confidence and professionalism.

OCJ: What advice do you have for young FFA members or students interested in FFA?

Shelby: Don’t be afraid. The FFA has thousands of opportunities available, but it’s up to us to take advantage of them. It’s okay not to be the best at something, but if we dedicate ourselves and try then what can we lose? Take advantage of every opportunity that the FFA presents and most importantly have fun!




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