The Fredericktown FFA had two members participate in the Missouri Agribusiness Academy. Leah Thompson and Gavin Graham earned the opportunity to travel with twenty-eight other FFA members from across the state with the Missouri Agribusiness Academy.
“Agriculture has a tremendous impact on our nation’s economy, and Missouri is at the heart of this industry," according ot the Missouri Department of Agriculture website. "It is important that young people carry on the tradition and heritage of those who have made this state the agricultural leader it is today and develop the skills necessary to continue that legacy in the future.
"Since 1988, the Missouri Agribusiness Academy (MAbA) has awarded 1,030 academy memberships through a competitive application and interview process. To be eligible for the Missouri Agribusiness Academy, students must come from a farming family or be an active member of the National FFA Organization or 4-H. The 2022 MAbA class will toured agribusinesses, explore educational opportunities and meet with agricultural leaders in the Kansas City area on June 6-10, 2022. The students will ended their week in Jefferson City.”
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Gavin Graham, chapter Treasurer said his highlight of the academy was the friendships and connections made with other members of the academy and having the opportunity to meet all of the great people who help make the agricultural industry better and more efficient. Touring different businesses and facilities were interesting. Some included Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri-Pacific Lumber, DeLaval, American Angus Association, Triumph Foods, Agriculture Future of America, Ad Farm, American Royal, Kansas City Zoo, MFA Rail Facility, Trans Ova Genetics, and the Hemme Brothers Creamery.
Gavin also said they had an overview of the Missouri Department of Agriculture with the director of Agriculture Chris Chinn, and Etiquette Dinner, CAFNR presentations, a meal with Kate Lambert, a True Colors Activity, meal with guest speaker Jim Bellis, and concluded the academy with a presentation given by Missouri Farm Bureau.
When speaking with Leah Thompson, chapter President, she also recounted many of the tour locations and experiences. Her two favorite places were Triumph Foods, a hog processing plant;, and Missouri Pacific Lumber, a wood mill. Both industries are ones Leah’s family is involved with in Madison County.
Leah said her highlight of the trip was creating so many friendships in such a short amount of time. She said, by the end they all felt like a family.
“This is definitely the best experience I have ever had in my life and I will always be very thankful for having the opportunity,” Leah said.
Leah and Gavin are involved in the Fredericktown FFA on a variety of levels and heavily immersed in the agriculture industry. This is an experience they will without a doubt remember for a lifetime and be able to utilize the knowledge of the agriculture industry they have gained to better the industry.