Snedecor serves as state FFA officer
After being raised in a family with strong farming and ranching roots, Colton Snedecor knew he wanted to participate in the Future Farmers of America program someday.
In eighth grade, Colton joined the local Fredericksburg chapter and never looked back. Walking into ag class at Fredericksburg High School as a freshman in 2014, he set the goal of becoming a state FFA officer.
“This has been a goal of mine since I was a freshman in high school,” Colton said. “I went to my first FFA convention with over 13,000 people and fell in love with the drive, inspiration, passion and purpose of the organization.”
He reached his goal when he was elected the state vice president during the 2017-2018 school year.
During his time in the organization, Colton participated in events from public speaking, organizing and attending leadership camps, judging and showing livestock, competing in proficiency applications and more.
“Colton has a passion for this program and for its purpose,” FHS agricultural science teacher Patrick Padgett said. “He was able to develop really strong leadership skills, traveled to other communities to recruit members and helped promote a program he really believes in.”
Colton especially latched on to public speaking.
“He is not scared to put himself out there, and that is an important quality for a public speaker, allowing you to communicate one-on-one or in front of 25,000 people,” Padgett said. “Colton can do that and he does it well.”
Becoming an officer
Only 10 students across the state are elected to represent over 125,000 FFA members in Texas and more often than not, they come from larger cities.
“The process itself is extremely intense and takes about two weeks from start to finish,” Colton said.
There are nine different interviews featuring different types of speaking skills, interacting with stakeholders and industry personnel and two rounds of voting.
After enduring this process, Colton was chosen to represent FHS, Gillespie County and Texas.
“I think having Colton represent Gillespie County goes to show that we have a strong program and that we want to make a name for ourselves,” Padgett said.
Colton attributes his success as an officer to the support he received from mentors in the community.
“Fredericksburg is a great community because there are loving people who are just as ambitious as you and they want to help you reach your goals,” Colton said. “My parents, sister, Mr. (Joel) Bush and Mr. Padgett and Mandy Geistweidt really believed in me, especially when I thought my goals were unrealistic.”
Fueling his future
After graduating from FHS in May 2018 and organizing the state FFA conference, Colton’s term ended in July.
Snedecor now attends Texas Tech University and is an agricultural communications major. He hopes to become an agricultural lawyer, advocating for farmers and ranchers across the nation.
In addition to providing career preparedness, Colton said the program also provided essential networking opportunities with people in the industry across the state of Texas.
Padgett hopes that Colton set a precedence for the program at FHS and that other students will follow in his example.
“You don’t have to be a farmer or rancher. You just need to have the will to commit yourself to premier leadership, personal growth and career success,” Colton said.
“They want to help kids become successful in the agricultural industry as well give them opportunities to find their passion in whatever career they choose,” Padett said.
“There are opportunities from welding, to ag-science fairs, showing animals, public speaking and judging,” Colton said. “All require time and dedication but all provide great benefits for your future, whether that is in the agricultural industry or not.”
What is FFA?
Future Farmers of America works to provide educational and hands-on skills for students to use during their high school years with the hopes of using those skills in the agricultural industry and beyond, according to the organization’s website.
There are over 650,000 members nationwide, Texas being the largest state with over 125,000 members.
They provide opportunities for public speaking, leadership development, livestock and other judging events and more.
For more on Texas FFA visit texasffa.org or national FFA, visit ffa.org.