Bedford teen becomes FFA state president
Ethan Jackson named FFA president
BEDFORD – A local teen has been named president of the Virginia Future Farmers Association. A Bedford County resident, Ethan Jackson is a recent graduate of Staunton River High School. Jackson is the first Bedford County resident to take the honor.
Jackson will serve a one-year term, representing the group at schools and organizations across the Commonwealth. Jackson is a member of the Smith Mountain FFA and was elected for the top state post by a nominating committee made up of FFA members from around the state. He was selected from a membership base of more than 9,000 and appointed at the 92nd Virginia FFA State Convention held in June at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
“It really didn't seem real,” Jackson said. “They called my name and it felt like I was floating on a cloud.”
Becoming FFA president is an honor Jackson takes so seriously, he is even deferring college for a year in order to fulfill his duties. He said he hopes to mentor younger students across the state about the importance of agriculture and the three pillars of FFA -premier leadership, personal growth and career success.
“FFA helped me grow into the person that I was always meant to be,” Jackson said. “FFA made me realize that I did have a home, that I did have a place, and that I could be me, and that was OK. I didn't have to fit a mold of anything else. That had a huge impact on me and I want to be able to do the same for other kids, other members around Virginia.”
Agriculture is the largest commodity in the state of Virginia. Jackson said one of the biggest challenges for the industry right now is younger generations not taking an interest, especially among farmers' children, who may inherit their family farms. He said he hopes to expose other children to farming and agriculture by advocating for more programs in schools as well as creating FFA chapters at schools in urban areas.
He said recently several Bedford area schools added agriculture programs for students.
He's hoping more schools in the state will follow suit so the children of Virginia's farmers can one day carry on the tradition: keeping the states farming heritage alive.
Jackson is employed by Powers Cattle Company in Moneta. He said he has already began his duties as president, which involve making numerous appearances monthly with the state officers team at FFA chapters and agriculture organizations across the state.
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