Parents: Wayne and Lacy Bradford
Hometown: Shirley, Ark.
FFA Chapter: Clinton FFA
Advisors: Justin Wiedower and Chad Mooney
What was your early childhood background?
“Even though I was raised in an agricultural community, I was not raised on a farm and had no practical knowledge of the industry. My earliest introduction to agriculture was in kindergarten during our farmer for a day field trip. That’s where I learned apples come from trees and cows need to be milked.”
What is your educational experience with agriculture?
“In eighth grade, I had a blank in my schedule and my counselor told me it was either study hall or the introductory agricultural class. I couldn’t see wasting 45 minutes a day in study hall, so ag class it was. My first teacher was Mr. Wiedower, and I enjoyed his class so much that I joined FFA. Mr. Mooney, however, changed my life. He heavily honed in and invested in what I loved, leadership and public speaking. Because of my ag teachers, I learned to love agriculture so much that I plan to make it my career. I have especially enjoyed going to schools to talk to kids about the source of the food they eat. When I ask where they get their food, they answer with a grocery store; and when I follow that with asking how the food got there, they say by truck. That’s when I get to explain that food is not born in the grocery store. I get to talk about how real people spend their lives providing food for others and how that’s done. Winning the Arkansas Farm Bureau Discussion Meet has been the most meaningful accomplishment I’ve won competing in FFA. At those meets, Farm Bureau sends a topic such as food safety or land management practices, and students arrive at the meet with solutions featuring how Farm Bureau can help. Judging is based upon each student’s solutions and ability to discuss all of the presented solutions in order to come up with a combined comprehensive plan, with hopes of making their solution part of the group’s final one. Mr. Mooney always guided me to get background information for each topic because all the topics were totally new to me. Perhaps the most important and shocking thing I learned through our research was that farmers are only the first step in food pricing. The supply chain’s added costs are what cause the great increase in the prices that people see in grocery stores. I’m very honored to be able to serve as Arkansas FFA President for a year.”
What are your future plans?
“As of now, I am going to attend the University of Arkansas studying agricultural communications in preparation for attending law school for ag law. I then want to use that knowledge in Washington, D.C., to facilitate agricultural use of social media and to tell the story of Arkansas agriculture. Though much of my plan is pretty far in the future and open to adjustments, what I do know is that my career will be in agriculture.”