Future Farmers of America: Growing Leaders Since 1928
National FFA week is celebrated February 18-25 of this year. Around most of our rural service area, the dark blue FFA jacket with the gold emblem is synonymous with service, leadership and agriculture. The program has influenced many local leaders as well as Medina EC employees. Different projects in FFA teach different skills, but you can be sure that all FFA participants come out with a better knowledge of responsibility, leadership and service. We asked them how they felt FFA helped them grow as a student and what role they felt it played in their success as an adult.
Representative Ryan Guillen; Rio Grande City – State Representative
Guillen was in the FFA program in Rio Grande City - five years in Jr. FFA and four years in FFA. He served as chapter president for four years.
“FFA taught me about the importance of personal responsibility, networking skills and the benefits thereof, grassroots leadership skills and to appreciate the value of agriculture as a rural way-of-life; and hard work.”
Bobby Ainsley; Hondo – Banker for Hondo National Bank
Ainsley was in FFA in New Braunfels. He raised pigs and was on the poultry judging team. He is a former Ag teacher and his daughters also participated in ag-ed activities.
“The FFA is so much more than many people think. It was traveling the state of Texas, and at times to other states. It was watching young people make friends with other members from all over the state. Watching them grow and develop as confident independent young adults. And now I’m watching those kids be the leaders of Hondo. Doctors, lawyers, the dentist, the pharmacist, engineers, CPAs, and the guys I call to repair my house or fix my truck.”
Traci Carpinteyro; Dilley – Teacher at Dilley Elementary
Carpinteyro (seen here in 2006 during her junior year) was in Dilley FFA during high school. She showed goats, heifers and steers at local shows, and in San Antonio and Houston. She was on the livestock judging team, served as a district officer and as chapter president. Carpinteyro also received her Lone Star State FFA degree and American FFA degree.
“I think that FFA helped me grow as a student because it taught me to be responsible with my animals, with money, deadlines, and how to collaborate with others. I do think that responsibility sticks with you as you grow up and now being a teacher, a wife and a mother of two it has helped me build that strong foundation I have as an adult.”
Israel Bazan; Rio Grande City – Medina EC Staking Technician
Bazan participated in the Rio Grande City FFA program in the Cattle Breeding Division and Welding Fabrication. Now he gets to watch his daughter follow in his footsteps.
"FFA helps an individual with qualities in responsibility, respect and develops leadership skills. These skills give a student the attributes to be successful as an adult."
Michael Harkins; Sabinal – Medina EC Business Development Coordinator
Harkins has always had a passion for agriculture education. From raising pigs and steer as a young boy, to his days as an Ag teacher, and now his daughters participate in the FFA program; he has seen the impact FFA has on a person.
"It was great to see kids that were generally shy be influenced by this program. They grew up to be more outspoken, outgoing and involved. They learned the responsibilities it takes to be a leader.”
Liandra Carrizales; Bruni – Medina EC Member Services Coordinator
Carrizales raised lambs in middle school with the Bruni FFA program.
“When raising any animal, it definitely puts your life on a strict time schedule. I would have to wake up a lot earlier than usual, about 5:30, walk my lamb, feed him, then get ready for school. After school, with the other extracurricular activities going on, you had to prioritize and sacrifice events because your project wasn’t going to feed, bathe, and raise itself.”