Paxton Dahmer’s path changed once he discovered FFA and now he is the state association president

Bright lights, a sea of blue corduroy jackets, rippling excitement and the impactful retiring state officer speeches inspired Paxton Dahmer’s seventh grade self to set the goal to become a State FFA Officer.

“Freshman year, right out of the gate, I did everything I could to get there,” Paxton said.

Fast forward six years later and he is fulfilling his goal by serving 25,920 FFA members as the 2018-2019 Missouri State FFA President.

Paxton grew up on a farm south of Nevada, Mo., where he traveled the nation showing sheep, cattle, swine and goats with his siblings since he was 5 years old.

His initial career plan was to attend medical school, until he uncovered his passion for agriculture through FFA and showing livestock. The connections he made along this journey have influenced his success and career path.

The positive impact of his agriculture teachers changed his career mindset. He charted a new course and is currently a freshman at the University of Missouri-Columbia majoring in agriculture education.

“My ag teachers helped me recognize that with my roots in agriculture it could be really cool to give back to students in that profession,” he exclaimed.

Paxton has been involved in a variety of Career Development Events (CDE) throughout his FFA career. He has competed on FFA Knowledge, Dairy Cattle Evaluation, Farm Business Management, Livestock Evaluation, and in the fall and spring public speaking contests.

This year, Paxton and his team won the State FFA Livestock Judging Contest, qualifying to compete in the National FFA Livestock Evaluation Contest in October.

“Now, as I have been applying for internships and taking those opportunities there’s a lot of things that have put me ahead because of FFA,” he said.

He credits FFA for the employability skills he has gained throughout this journey. The interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication, organizational habits and interview techniques have provided him with skills he can use beyond FFA.

“Verbal communication is the biggest thing. In the livestock contest, you learn to place the class quick and defend your placing. That will pay large dividends to anyone in the future as they make decisions and defend those decisions in their career,” he said.

Paxton has cultivated the connections he has made with livestock producers across the nation through showing and judging.

He appreciates the helpfulness of this community. As he transitions to being an ag teacher, he hopes to use these connections to open the doors of opportunity for his students.

“Having those connections will help you a lot as far as advocating for the industry and promoting your brand. You realize how important those connections are once you make them. While they might be helping you out at one point, you are going to have the opportunity to help them out in some way shape or form,” he said.   

Paxton started his year of service to Missouri FFA by attending the State FFA Leadership Camp for two weeks this past summer. This is one of the first opportunities the newly selected state officers have to connect with FFA members across the state.

“They (the members) talk about a lot of different things. Some come from broken homes, have rough histories and a bad home life. When they come and talk to you and you get to help them through, that is probably the most unique part of it,” he said.

Paxton had the opportunity to return to HYMAX (Helping Youth Maximize their Agriculture Experience) Academy as part of his state officer duties.

“I went to HYMAX as a freshman and that is where I gained a lot of connections. I give that credit for a lot of things I have done in FFA. To be able to go back in a different capacity was unique,” he said.

Paxton and the state officer team stay busy with trainings, workshops, chapter visits, conventions, and motivational conferences.

“It is everything you could imagine and more,” he said.

The state officer team will conclude their year at the 2019 Missouri State FFA Convention, where they will hang their jackets and give their retiring address with the goal of inspiring the next set of state FFA officers sitting in the crowd. 

Paxton’s advice to future and current FFA members is based off his former experiences.

“Take every opportunity. Give everything a shot.  Live in the moment. As an FFA member, if I could restart from the beginning of my high school career I would do everything I could. I would take every opportunity to give a speech, to get in front of people, to practice those public speaking skills. I would participate in different things because not only are you developing knowledge of the industry but at the same time you are making connections,” he explained.

Paxton is the son of Cory Dahmer and Amy Dahmer. He has two siblings, an older brother, Payton (21) and a younger sister, Payge (16).


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