Piper Merritt grew up in the suburbs of Tulsa, Oklahoma with very little connection to agriculture and admits she really ended up joining FFA because she had a spot to fill in her schedule. Now Merritt fills a highly coveted spot on the 2017-2018 National FFA Officer Team.
“I hope to take away from National Office the same hope and joy that I have found in my FFA journey since I joined in the 8th grade,” Merritt said. “We say that we believe in the future of agriculture, and I’m excited to encounter that bright future throughout this year and leave with a renewed hope in the agriculture industry and our nation.”
As the National FFA Central Region Vice President, Merritt will spend more than 300 days over the next months on the road with her fellow officers and often far away from her home state, but her roots in FFA in the Sooner State are never far from her mind.
“When I joined FFA, I discovered that I was more than a student in a classroom or number on a roster,” Merritt said. “My advisors, and close mentors helped me not only to define my purpose but motivated me to pursue it, every day.”
And that purpose, or passion, for Merritt was pigs. Her supervised agricultural experience at Owasso FFA was breeding and showing show pigs. She got involved with swine her 9th grade year and turned it into a small operation by her senior year.
“One conversation with one agriculture broadcaster led to one pig that began my entire SAE operation,” Merritt said. “I showed one pig, which ultimately led to a six-sow operation, selling over 60 pigs throughout my SAE.”
Managing Merritt Showpigs and handling all the records, finances, and business transactions for the operation also gave Merritt great experience for serving as the Oklahoma FFA Secretary last year.
Now a sophomore at Oklahoma State University majoring in agricultural economics, Merritt said she decided to run for National Office because she had seen how students were empowered and encouraged through involvement in agricultural education and the FFA.
“I I knew I wanted to be a part of that change for students, and made the decision to pursue higher office in the FFA,” Merritt said.
Merritt’s goal for this year in office is to learn something new from every person she encounters.
“I believe that we encounter people for a reason, and I hope that I can grow through the many people we will meet this year,” Merritt said.
After all, it’s that hope and those special relationships that made Merritt stick with FFA since she filled her calendar seven years ago.
“The most rewarding piece of being involved in FFA has definitely been the network of friends and professionals that we have access to just by being in the FFA,” Merritt said. “It always amazes me to see the connections that are made simply because of a blue jacket.”