Meet Oklahoma FFA's New 2017-2018 State FFA President Ridge Hughbanks of Alva, OklahomaMon, 08 May 2017 17:43:01 CDT
During the 91st Oklahoma State FFA Convention in Oklahoma City this past week, State FFA Officer Ridge Hughbanks of Alva, Okla., was elected the 2017-2018 President of the Oklahoma FFA Association. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays invited Hughbanks, in studio to talk about his journey through the FFA organization and what this opportunity, serving as its next president, means to him. You can listen to the entire off-camera interview with Hughbanks, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of this story.
"Basically, my FFA journey in a nutshell was just diving in headfirst and never looking back," Hughbanks summarized. "I found parts of the FFA that I would have never dreamed were there had I not started branching out and meeting people."
Hughbanks grew up in production agriculture, surrounded by wheat, cattle and alfalfa. But, it wasn't until his freshman year of high school that he got his first glimpse into the FFA and what it had to offer him. He eventually found his niche in showing and judging livestock, but also singing with both the state and national choruses. Hughbanks says finding his place in the FFA, gave him a voice.
"The FFA has given me the ability to speak what I think," he said, "and take what I'm passionate about and serve."
Before being elected as State FFA President, Hughbanks served this past year as the State Association's Northwest District Vice President. He says the thought to run for state office had always been there in the back of his mind, but he hadn't truly considered the possibility of campaigning until those he looked up to started encouraging him to run.
"I started having advisors and our P.I. groups across the state saying, 'Ridge, have you ever considered running for state office?' he recounted. "That's when I really started considering it. The idea I was going to have the opportunity to give back to the organization another year and impact people outside of the Northwest District as a state officer was more than convincing enough, especially with those people that supported me the whole way through."
This time around, Hughbanks says the situation was very much the same, when considering whether or not to run again, this time for President.
"Seeing this last year as a state officer, my eyes were opened to just how much the FFA officers did and how involved they were and the level of service that was there," he said. "I thought to myself, 'if I have another year and another opportunity to do that, I have people that believe in me - absolutely I will."
Over the next year, Hughbanks hopes to lead his state officer team towards the goal of helping chapters around the state that have had difficulty growing, be it in numbers, participation, etc. He wants to help these chapters get started with new programs and activities that spark the interest of their members and guide them in finding their own place in the FFA.
"There's a place for everybody in the FFA," Hughbanks asserted. "If you can find your place and find what you're passionate about, that's where you're going to find success."
You can learn more about Hughbanks, by reading his personal profile on the Oklahoma FFA website, click here.
Hughbanks will join Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays for his weekly In the Field segment on KWTV News9 in the Oklahoma City area on Saturday morning at 6:40 a.m.
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