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FFA Spotlight: Ryan VanPelt

Name: Ryan VanPelt

Grade: 11th

Hometown: Austin, Minnesota

Parents: Bob and Jodi VanPelt

Ryan VanPelt. Photo provided

What are some activities you are involved with at Austin FFA?

Activities I’m involved in within Austin FFA include the Ag Mechanics team and Prepared Public Speaking. This is my second year on the Ag Mechanics team, and my first year as the team captain. I also competed in the Prepared Public Speaking contest this year for the first time with a speech focused on the terminology surrounding GMOs. This last fall I filmed and voiced over several parts of the virtual third grade farm tour video. Austin FFA put out this video for the elementary schools in Austin since they couldn’t physically tour the farms like they have in previous years. I also take part in many of our chapter activities throughout the year.

What have been some things you have learned while being in FFA?

I have learned many valuable skills as a member of Austin FFA, the two most important being leadership and teamwork. Leading the Ag Mechanics team this year has given me the ability to lead a team and prepare them for our competitions. Another skill that goes hand-in-hand with leadership is being a member of a team. When you lead the team, you are still a member of that team, and working with others to practice questions and learn yourself has been a great challenge and responsibility.

What does it mean for you to be involved with FFA?

FFA is a tradition that both of my parents and their families participated in. Being an FFAer allows you the ability to convey an accurate perception of modern agriculture and connect with those open to hearing your perspective. You also gain access to a plethora of opportunities through this organization you previously wouldn’t have known about or had access to.

What is a favorite memory you have had in your FFA career?

My favorite memory during my FFA career is my first CDE competition for Ag Mechanics that was held last year. I placed fourth as an individual and was able to learn how the competitions functioned and how we could improve next year as a team.

What are your future plans?

My future plans are to attend a four-year university for an Agricultural Engineering degree. I am interested in working with machinery companies to design and improve their equipment.

What advice would you have for younger students?

My advice for younger students is to join FFA and use it to find your passion. Your experience is what you make it, so make it a great one.

Austin Ag Ed/FFA Advisors/Leaders:  Kim Schechinger and Nick Schiltz. Follow the Austin Ag Ed/FFA program on Facebook by ‘liking’ the Austin FFA page. Visit the Austin FFA webpage at www.austinffa.theaet.com .i