Parents: Scotty and Shelly Sanders
Hometown: Lowell, Ark.
FFA Chapter: Arkansas Tech CFFA
What is your favorite aspect of agriculture?
“I especially like educating the public about what agriculture really is rather than all the media hype. Also I am continually amazed when you ask kids where their food comes from and they say the grocery store and have no idea of the true source.”
Who is the most influential person in your life?
“My high school ag teacher Chad Burkett in Springdale, Ark, was really influential because he always pushed me to step out of my comfort zone. Because of his encouragement, I went beyond what I thought I could do. During my sophomore year, I was terrified of talking to people. He pushed me to become part of the parliamentary team which has helped me in many ways. Most importantly, being able to talk to people and in front of a large crowd is essential to an educator, which I hope to be.”
What is your current involvement in agriculture, including your daily routine?
“When I went home this summer I worked at the Tractor Supply in Springdale and took care of my horse plus helped my friends exercise theirs. Because my home was in Lowell, a more urban area, my hands on experience with anything besides my horse was extremely limited. I am currently serving as an ATU Agriculture Ambassador.”
What are some of your agricultural memories?
“I’ve always loved animals. As a child I would always try to pet my neighbor’s cattle. Not surprisingly, they would run away except for one I named Oreo. He would greet me at the fence. Growing up I had dogs, cats, horses and a rabbit. My senior year, I knew I wanted to show an animal in the fair. Mr. Burkett helped me decide to show a Boer goat. I had never had a goat so it was definitely a new experience for me. I named my goat DiGi and spent countless hours with him trying to get him ready for the fair. I became very attached to him. I would lead him around trying to exercise him and he would just fall over. At first I thought I was killing him, but soon figured out that he was just lazy. I was so scared that he would fall over in the show ring but luckily he didn’t. I will never forget when my mom, who is definitely not an animal person, was helping me get DiGi show ready. I was shaving his belly and my mom started freaking out because he was eating her hair. She of course wasn’t happy about that at all!
What are your future plans?
“Right now I am attending Arkansas Tech in Russellville, Ark., majoring in agriculture education. I want to work in a multi-teacher program so we can have a more productive and better developed FFA organization with more opportunities for students in more areas. Also, being in a more rural area will allow increased interest and hands-on opportunity with animals while still maintaining universal programs such as mechanics, food science, meat judging teams and parliamentary procedure.”