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FFA is a doorway to a passion for agriculture

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In my short lifetime, I’ve heard very many people make statements such as “It’s not so much the destination that matters, but the journey along the way.” As for my life, and my involvements with agriculture, I agree with those types of statements. The journey toward our destinations in life help shape us, and they play a major part in who we are as individuals. Therefore, let me share a little bit with you about my agricultural journey and how it affects my destination to come later.

You see, my journey with agriculture began quite early — you might even say it began when I was born. Unlike most Americans of my generation, I wasn’t born in a hospital, but I was born in a two-story farmhouse out in the boonies known as Endicott, Virginia. As soon as I was old enough, my Aunt Annie and I would go out and work the farm. It was a small family farm, with only a couple of red and black angus cattle, some roosters and hens, guineas, goats, a couple of ponies, and there was a pot belly pig named Adeline who was litter box trained!

We then moved away from the farm, and for my entire childhood, I never lived on another one. I wasn’t involved in agriculture for many years after that, and honestly, I had no desire to be. Not until ninth grade. That’s when it all changed thanks to some great friends and the National FFA Organization.

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Image courtesy of Summer Eubank

I won’t get into much detail on the whole of FFA experiences now (that’s an article for another day), but I will say that FFA changed my life. I went from being involved in agriculture as a child, to absolutely resenting it, and then with FFA a new love and passion for agriculture developed. I’ve always had a strong love for animals, and I aspire to be a veterinarian one day. So I was dying to take the animal care classes that my ag department offered, but in order to do that, I had to start with the Basic Agriculture 1 course. The first unit of that course was all about FFA Education – and, of course, my ag teacher encouraged me to join FFA, but I declined. Although, as the semester progressed, my teacher learned more about who I was and what I liked, and she discovered my big heart for all animals. She tried again to get me in FFA, except this time she had a new spin on it. She told me if I joined FFA, I could compete in the veterinary science career development events all over the state and nation! She told me about all the things I could learn and do, treating animals, performing small procedures alongside veterinarians and, oh my, I was sold! At that moment I dove in head first and became heavily involved in FFA and it was all history from there. I spent my free time working cattle in high school, attending conventions, livestock judging, and more. I worked with small animals, large animals, exotics, and more, and I learned many things about agriculture that wasn’t animal-based. Yet, before I knew it, all that was over and I was a graduating senior in high school.

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Image courtesy of Summer Eubank

I chose to attend a small private college in the city of Lynchburg, Virginia. I absolutely loved Lynchburg, but I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing, and indeed something was missing. The farms … the land … the agricultural environment I knew and loved in good ol’ Franklin County, Virginia. The people in Lynchburg and at the college I attended looked at me funny when I wore boots and jeans, and I ended up transferring back home to Ferrum College for the fall 2016 semester.

With that being said, I came back home to my happy Ag town. I’m back to working cattle, spending time on farms, and I’m involved in the Agriculture Club at Ferrum College. Even though it was hard with all the ups and downs and my back and forth involvements with agriculture, everything from my past taught me a lesson. I learned that I love agriculture, and I learned that sometimes you must take a step back from something you love, and be without it for a while to truly have a full appreciation for it. I learned that it’s OK to be different, and not to be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Which is what I did when I moved to Lynchburg, but I also learned that it’s always OK to be who you are, and that home is where your heart is.

 

Summer Eubank was born and raised on a farm in Endicott, Virginia, and is in agricultural and veterinary studies at Ferrum College.

Image courtesy of Summer Eubank
Image courtesy of Summer Eubank
Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of AGDAILY. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
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