Owasso FFA National Office Candidate Gears Up for IndianapolisFri, 12 Oct 2012 15:51:34 CDT
Marty Jones of the Owasso FFA will be heading to Indianapolis this year as a national officer candidate from Oklahoma. An agriculture education student at OSU, Jones has been preparing for this opportunity for eight years. He recently spoke with Ron Hays about his quest and why he is so passionate about pursuing a national FFA office.
"I served a couple of years ago as FFA secretary, so my passion for FFA started when I was an eighth grader and continued on through. Having been given the opportunity to serve as state secretary was really exciting for me. I loved my year of service. So then I thought it would maybe be nice to take that next step and to have the opportunity to run for national office as well."
He said he realizes that becoming a national officer would require a total commitment.
"Out of 365 days, I will be traveling for about 340 days if elected. So, we're talking a big-time commitment, but certainly one worth your while."
He says that commitment actually began much earlier in his FFA career, but has become especially well focused over the last several months as he has done everything he can to prepare for what awaits candidates in Indianapolis.
"A lot of it is interpersonal skills. I want to know who you are and where you stand, your morals and values. But, two, it's also being very current and up-to-date in agricultural issues. And, this year, the theme is general agriculture, so, we all know as agriculturalists how broad that is. So, it takes a lot of preparation, a lot of work over the past four months of really trying to narrow down some of those hot topics and really trying to get a grasp of what's going on in agriculture today."
Jones says FFA means a lot more than rural students learning how better to manage their own farms and better serve their own communities.
"Today we're facing a huge epidemic of agricultural illiteracy. And, so, we're giving students an opportunity to learn and understand about agriculture. And, more importantly, we're giving them an organization to be a part of through the national FFA. For us, and for me as a national officer candidate, I'm really excited about the opportunity that the FFA has for growing and expanding throughout the community."
Jones says he recently visited Chicago and was surprised to find a high school solely dedicated to agricultural science. He said it drove home the fact to him that there is potential growth for FFA even in the midst of the country's largest cities.
Even for students who don't go into agriculture as a vocation, Jones says anyone can benefit from FFA. He says having knowledge of agriculture, rural communities, and the issues that affect them are important in all professions and all walks of life.
Jones says his eight-year journey through the ranks in FFA has led him to the point of contemplating a career that will continue the program that he has derived so much benefit from.
"I'm certainly very dedicated in agricultural education. Without a doubt, I would love to be a high school agriculture educator. And that's always been my dream from the ninth grade on. Ever since I really got involved in FFA, it's been a dream come true for me to continue at Oklahoma State majoring in agricultural education. As you well know, without a doubt, things do change, but if you asked me today, without a doubt, agriculture education is in my heart and that's something I will always continue with."
Next year's slate of officers will be announced on the last Saturday of the national convention, October 27th.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the full interview with Marty Jones.
Our exclusive coverage from the 2012 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis is a service of the Oklahoma FFA Association and the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Association. Click here for the state FFA website for more information about this youth organization. FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
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