Mattie Cobban says she has learned a great deal about setting goals and being a leader through FFA and 4-H

The first impression when meeting Matelyn (Mattie) Cobban is that she has boundless energy and is full of joy. The 18-year-old Fair Grove High School senior is confident, friendly and more than willing to share her love of agriculture.

Mattie comes by her interest in agriculture naturally. Her parents, Matthew and Jean, have degrees in agriculture from Missouri State University and her older sister, Jessica, also belonged to 4-H and FFA.

Mattie is an active and successful member and leader in 4-H and FFA. She has won awards at the state and national levels for her 4-H projects and placed highly at state in FFA team competitions.

“In 4-H I learned how to achieve my goals as an individual.” Mattie said. “In FFA I learned how to work with others in a team to achieve success.”

Mattie is planning to attend Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., after high school because of its outstanding agricultural program. She is considering an undergraduate degree in agriculture with a minor in horticulture. Mattie is also planning to earn a master’s degree in some aspect of agriculture.

Mattie is exploring agricultural jobs that would allow her to use the public speaking, technical and organizational skills she has learned in 4-H and FFA.

“I do not want to have to be at a desk all the time,” she explained. “I enjoy meeting people and explaining how agriculture enhances their lives. Right now an ideal job would be in marketing or sales, as long as I could be on the road most of the time.”

Mattie joined the 4-H Clover Kids program when she was 5 years old. At 8, Mattie officially joined the Sac River Stablemates 4-H Club, where she is now in her third year as club president.

Mattie has participated in 4-H projects involving horses, dogs, chickens, photography, gardening and wood working. For several years she showed her Norwegian Fjord horses in English disciplines. She won numerous ribbons in 4-H shows and that background helped her win the ladies cart class in the draft pony and miniature mule show at the 2017 Ozark Empire Fair.

Mattie won 4-H Hippology and Horse Bowl at the state level several times and her senior state team placed 11th overall at the Eastern Nationals in 2016

Mattie currently raises and shows rare Salmon Faverolles chickens, which are named for the village in France where they were developed from several other breeds.

“The breed is docile and easy to handle,” Mattie explained. “Hens have cream, buff, straw and copper feathering while roosters are stunning with black, gold and white feathering. The breed has a fifth toe that is a dominate trait. The breed is dual purpose producing slightly tinted eggs and exceptional white meat.”

Mattie raised and showed a Shorthorn heifer that judges rated as an excellent “production” type but not a compact “show” animal.

Mattie did her homework and purchased semen from a Sullivan Shorthorn bull owned by Double G Shorthorns in Oklahoma. Mattie bred the heifer, Charlotte, with the intention of producing an outstanding show animal. The resulting calf was born Oct. 26 and Mattie is extremely pleased with the young heifer.

Mattie is the vice president of the Fair Grove FFA Chapter and is also an Area 10 vice president.

“Mattie is a tremendous student with a 4.0 GPA. She does a great job as an FFA leader and participates all aspects of the FFA program including fund raising and organizing various committees,” Fair Grove FFA Advisor Mike Stockton said.

One of Mattie’s main projects with FFA is as a breeder of Spinone Italiano and Newfoundland dogs. Mattie has won two best junior and one high in trial obedience at the Spinone Italiano National Specialty. Mattie is also a two-time winner of the Newfoundland Club of America scholarship.

Mattie is a member of the Fair Grove National Honor Society and serves on the executive committee. She is an active member of the National Heights Baptist Church and travels to work in the World Changers outreach ministry.

Mattie has attended many meetings and training sessions including the National 4-H Congress and annual Washington Leadership Conference and the FFA National Convention. She has had the opportunity to work with other young people during some of these events, as well as during her outreach ministry.

“I am always amazed that both elite students and intercity youth throughout the USA do not understand where meat, milk, eggs, vegetables, and other food items come from,” Mattie said of her travels. “I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to educate other youth and understand the differences that exist in our country.”

Whatever career in agriculture she chooses, Mattie’s drive and intelligence, combined with all of the skills she has learned as a youth in agriculture, will assure that she is a success.


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