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There are leaders in blue and gold.

There are leaders being born in blue and gold, actually in National Blue and Corn Gold.  I have witnessed it. In a time when we hear many people talking about Gen Z’ers that can’t put down their phones, live in their parents' basement and have zero social skills; I can attest to the fact that those statements are not true for every teenager! 

Judging

Last week I had the opportunity to be a judge at an FFA Public Speaking Career Development Event. I will admit I felt the butterflies fluttering as I prepared to walk in the school to judge just like I did before my first Conduct of Meetings event as a freshman in high school.  Things came full circle as I walked into the school to gather with others to prepare for the judge's meeting.

The first person I laid eyes on was my former FFA advisor. FFA and my advisor provided me opportunities that I would’ve never had and made me the person I am today, you’ve heard me say it and you’ve read about it. This post isn’t about me though, it’s about the young men and women that I had the opportunity to observe on a cold, blustery February night in Northern Iowa and those that I have had the opportunity to follow in the last few years.

Leaders

The young men and women I am referring to are leaders, leaders in those beautiful colors, and they are everywhere. They know how to shake a stranger's hand appropriately, Robert’s Rule of Order, the skills needed to land a job with a smoking job interview, and how to share their passion through public speaking. They are your future employees, entrepreneurs, future fair board members,  future educators of the next generation and above all they are leaders.

FFA and agricultural education are curating a group of leaders that has the potential to use the skills they have learned to make their mark on this world! And the world better prepare themselves because the teenagers that I had the opportunity to meet last week in Iowa and those that I know are sporting corduroy jackets across other parts of the country (or have sported jackets not too long ago) are going to leave their mark and it’s going to be gigantic.  

My nephew after receiving his State Degree

FFA Members,  keep “dreaming big and huge” and Advisors keep seeing the great things your students are doing and use the best skill you have of finding those leadership qualities in each and every one of them. 

From the gravel road,

Jen

Photo from Wikipedia

Guess what, Joaquin?  I don’t know a single thing about acting, how to pursue an acting career, or what it takes to win an Oscar and I don’t pretend to know about anything about it either. 

I have seen several movies you have starred in and a personal favorite is when you played Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line."  Speaking of Johnny, he sings one of my favorite songs that really isn't just a song to me, it’s more of a personal anthem to many things in my life including standing up to people like you, Joaquin, that try to share a story that you know nothing about.  That would be like me using my platform to talk about my thoughts and beliefs on the truths of being an actor.  That favorite song of mine is titled, “I Won’t Back Down.” Here are the lyrics in case you aren’t familiar with it:

I won't back down

Well, I won't back down, no, I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey, I will stand my ground and I won't back down

Well, I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I stand my ground and I won't back down

Hey, baby, there ain't no easy way out
Hey, I will stand my ground and I won't back down
No, I won't back down

What do I know?

What do I know?   I know about caring for animals. I know about waking up at all hours of the night to check on a heifer that is close to calving.  I know about the sacrifice that my family, my parents, and the generations before us have made to feed the people who CHOOSE to eat products that we produce.  I know that I would never speak about a profession or way of life that I have never experienced. And I know that I WON’T BACK DOWN. 

I will not back down

I will not back down from the scare tactics that you use on your platform to outweigh our real-life stories that I share on my platform.   I will not be pushed around by actors or activists that have never walked a day in my shoes and that are not even interested in learning about it. I will continue to stand my ground and beliefs about a way of life that feeds and cloths the world for those that choose to partake.

So, Joaquin, in closing I want to thank you for fueling my burning ring of fire to continue sharing the stories of our Iowa life, the stories of other farmers and ranchers and the true stories of what occurs in our barns and on our land.

Sincerely,

A proud artificial inseminating livestock producer, woman, and lover of the land.

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