The FFA contest season has finished up and the state champions have been crowned after competing at the Missouri State FFA Convention at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Since my days as a Crowder College Aggie, I have helped judge at the Crowder Aggie Day each year, in areas from landscaping to poultry to, this year, employment interview. It has been a pleasant experience to observe how well many of our young FFA students are being prepared for the professional world. Through my judging experience this year, I’ve seen how many areas that these students are judged on have application in the real life world of our farms and ranches.
One substantial area we judge these students on is presence. How do they carry themselves? Are they timid or overpowering? Friendly or stand-offish? Respectful or not? What message are they sending with their body language? Is it in sync with their verbal communication?
As we market our operations and the products of those operations, our presence can have a direct effect on our marketing efforts. One’s product can be the best of the best, but if our verbal and non-verbal communication is not compatible with the product, we are not realizing our operations’ full potential. As farmers and ranchers, we are not marketing our products only but our operations and ourselves as well.
Secondly, students are judged on consistency. Is the resume consistent with the application, and does the in-person interview support both? The same can apply to our day to day operations on our farms and ranches. Does what we say about our operation line up with how we actually operate on our farmers and ranches? Or is it a case of “do what I say, not what I do”? If we believe we are producing quality products, let us make sure our operations reflect that pride every day. Consistency in our industry is our best friend – consistent products, consistent operation and consistency between the two.
Finally, a good interviewee is always prepared. They have multiple copies of the required paperwork in hand, knowledge of the position and/or industry, and are prepared to give an answer to any question put to them. These practices extend far outside the job interview. For instance, when questioned about industry practices by those with no first-hand knowledge of the industry, we need to be able to give well informed, articulate answers.
Or, a familiar situation for many of us, be prepared with your request, financial information and goals when talking with your loan officer. In each instance, you, the farmer/rancher, are selling your industry, your operation, yourself and your goals and dreams, to your interviewer, whether it be the public or your loan officer. We are living in the best industry out there, agriculture.
Let’s all put our best foot forward and ensure agriculture is seen by all to be the best industry in each and every aspect and show our deserved pride in being today’s farmers and ranchers.


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