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Texas FFA State Vice President Weston Parr

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Future Farmers of America was founded by a group of farmers in 1928 with the mission of preparing the next generation of agriculture. It has done just that during its 95-year history, as the organization works to give back to others by following its motto, “learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve.”

FFA is an organization made up of state associations, and at the helm of the Texas FFA is a team of 12 officers representing their respective areas within the Lone Star State. These individuals dedicate a year of their lives as they serve members, provide leadership, and work together with the state staff and board of directors to develop policy and lead the organization of over 177,000 members.

North Texas is represented by Area IV and Area IV, stretching from Wilbarger County to Bell County and from Runnels County to Grayson County. This year, those chosen to lead this great area are State President Isaac Hawkins Jr., Area IV, and State Vice President Weston Parr, Area V.

Parr is from the Sam Rayburn FFA chapter and the Area V Association, but the leader who now serves more than 19,100 members of Area V entered the FFA organization as a shy teenager who sat in the back of the room.

“I didn’t talk to a whole lot of people. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life or where I could see myself, so I wasn’t involved on my high school campus,” Parr recalled.

“Then I started FFA and slowly but surely, my ag teachers worked me into attending more contests, meeting new people, and speaking. I remember the first time I gave an officer speech to my chapter. I can still remember how embarrassing it was. To see the progression from that moment to speaking on stage at the state convention in front of thousands of people. Now I feel like I can enter the industry I want and be successful all because of what FFA afforded me for five years.”

There is not much Parr did not do during his time in high school. His contest participation included chapter conducting, wool judging, cotton judging, wildlife, and job interview, but his favorite was extemporaneous speaking, which he did not start until his senior year of high school.

“I wish I could go back to my freshman, sophomore, and junior years and start that sooner. I think if I had more time, I would have been more successful than I already was, but that was something I didn’t realize I liked at the time. I’m not naturally somebody who likes to speak in public, but it was actually my favorite,” Parr said.

Parr won several awards during his time competing. In 2023 alone, Parr earned the Texas FFA Service-Learning Proficiency title, was a National FFA Service-Learning Proficiency finalist, and a Texas FFA Extemporaneous Speaking finalist. In addition to his CDE and LDE events during high school, he showed commercial steers at Houston, and boilers at most major shows, participated in the county show with projects in ag mechanics, showed goats from time to time, and showed heifers until graduation.

“FFA provides invaluable resources and knowledge to be successful once you leave high school and you are out of the blue jacket for the first time. I have been a part of a lot of great organizations over the years, and they are all great in their own way, but in my opinion, FFA is the most successful at producing members of society who want to go and do something with themselves,” Parr said.

He was halfway through his time as Area V Association President and attending the national convention when he began to ponder the idea of running for state office.

“This is around the time when you usually figure out if you want to go through and be a state officer or you decide that area officer is your last run. I was unsure of where I wanted to go, but I knew I didn’t want to be done with FFA. I decided maybe it would be a good opportunity not only for me to make more friendships and connections, but also to give back to the program that allowed me to be able to do what I can do today,” Parr explained.

To read more, pick up a copy of the May issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Farm & Ranch

Ranch Biosecurity

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By Barry Whitworth, DVM

With beef, pork, and poultry exports playing a vital role in the economic health of livestock operations, producers need to understand the dangers that foreign animal diseases and other diseases may have on the viability of their operations.

The recent discovery of Influenza A H5N1 virus in dairy cattle demonstrates the vulnerability of livestock operations to disease events. Sick animals are not the only consequence of a disease outbreak. The economic cost associated with disease can be high. Also, in foreign animal disease outbreaks, export markets can be temporarily lost. Currently, Columbia has restricted fresh/frozen beef and beef products from states with dairy herds testing positive for Avian Influenza. The best defense against these threats is a good biosecurity plan.

To read more, pick up a copy of the June issue of NTFR magazine. To subscribe by mail, call 940-872-5922.

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Farm & Ranch

Ag Elsewhere: Montana

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In Montana, June brings irrigating, brandings, and some wondrous sights from Mother Nature.

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Farm & Ranch

Ag Elsewhere: Wyoming

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By Tressa Lawrence

Happy June from the lands of Wyoming!

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