Carter Vaughn enjoys the challenges presented in FFA
Photo by Jaynie Kinnie-Hout

Carter Vaughn enjoys the challenges presented in FFA

ASH GROVE, MO. – The National FFA Organization grows the next generation of leaders that will change the world. Carter Vaughn is one of those leaders. Currently a sophomore at Ash Grove High School, Carter joined the local Ash Grove FFA chapter as a freshman. He put on the signature blue corduroy jacket that dates back to 1933, connecting him and all FFA members to the largest youth organization in the world. 

Carter currently holds the office of assistant reporter. He lives with his family — father Josh, mother Rachelle and younger brother Grady —  in rural Ash Grove, Mo. 

“FFA is a pillar of our community,” Carter explained. “Since elementary school, FFA members have come to our school to talk to us. I’ve always been interested in agriculture because I’ve basically grown up around it. I also wanted to grow as a person.”

This year, Carter’s supervised agricultural experience (SAE) is raising Hereford pigs.

“I will be producing and bringing in an income in a couple months,”Carter said. “ I’m breeding my pigs in December for spring piglets. Later they’ll be sold for butchering.”

Aside from his FFA pursuits, Carter is an Ash Grove Pirates football player, a member of Beta Club and also on the track team.

Carter’s FFA advisor, Nathan Isakson, has been a very positive influence on him.

“He has always been there for the officer team and anyone in the chapter,”Carter said. “I have gotten close to him. He’s a very good person. He also owns a large cow/calf operation, Isakson Cattle Company in Bois d’ Arc, Mo. I really look up to him.”

Nathan is known for pushing his students to succeed. He is very encouraging and always there to lend a hand and advise his students. Along with his wife, Taylor Isakson, the couple are devoted to the Ash Grove FFA Chapter. 

“I’ve seen Carter’s confidence improved a lot,” mom Rachelle said. “He’s also learning important life skills. One thing that I really admire — everything that an FFA member wants to do must go through an interview process. Whether it’s becoming an officer or attending a convention, an interview is required.”

Carter has learned both interviewing and pubic speaking skills. He’s spoken at FFA events. During his year-and-a-half in Ash Grove FFA, Carter has learned a lot and has grown exponentially. 

FFA members are challenged to real-life, hands-on tests of skills used to prepare them for unique careers in agriculture. Carter’s favorite activity is the contest season. Last year, he participated in a dairy cattle evaluation that proved to be an excellent experience. He learned judging, aspects and characteristics, assessing body condition scores, reading pedigrees and farm management skills in the dairy cattle industry. Later, he was required to give an oral discourse to the judges. 

“I really enjoy the public speaking aspect more than anything else,” Carter added. “Recently, our officer team presented a speech that FFA member Ryleigh Morris gave last year at the Fall Public Speaking Contest. We spoke at the Southwest Missouri Cattlemen’s Association meeting in front of a conference room full of people.”

“Public speaking doesn’t bother him at at all,” Rachelle said. “It’s really cool.”

Carter followed his parents’ Josh and Rachelle, also FFA members in their youth. His younger brother, Grady, also wants to follow in his brothers footsteps to FFA. 

During his time in FFA, Carter has amassed quite a few awards and accolades for his age. He wears a pin on his lapel for placing as a top competitor at districts, ninth overall. In 2021, he was awarded the chapter leadership pin. Only two people attain the award every year. He was also selected by his advisor to be the chapters’ delegate at state in Columbia, Mo. Just two delegates are chosen from each chapter per year.

“I was present on the floor at the 2021 State convention,”Carter added. “I got to vote on the price of dues and changes to the FFA handbook. That was a cool experience.”

He also attended the National Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Ind.

Carter feels very lucky to be a member of the Ash Grove FFA Chapter. It’s one of the most admired in the area, and known for being very connected to the community. The chapter also feels like a family. Currently, they have about 30 members. Carter also enjoys the officer team, which is a very tight- knit group. He attended a leadership conference for officers in Rogersville, Mo. 


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