Put Your FFA STEM Into Action

Published 04/23/2018

I spend my days presenting to the Fortune 500 C-Suite across the globe on co-locating their Data Center to a CyrusOne facility. I sit with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), Chief Information Officers (CIOs), and their brightest minds in network architecture, engineering and infrastructure. These companies need data center space to house the exorbitant amount of data they are accumulating. I’m at the hub of an industry that is changing rapidly with autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and hyper scale cloud technology.

I’m able to do this because of my time in the FFA. FFA? — isn’t that something that stands for Future Farmers of America?  The same organization that preps farmers and ranchers?
“Not just sows, cows and plows” was a familiar speech and presentation topic in my early high school years and funny enough I’m still preaching it. I have the honor of working with FFA Chapters locally in Dallas, TX and my common theme to them is that FFA is a platform that can be used as a rocket ship to whatever you may choose to do.

As an FFA member you have a different experience than the average high schooler…
• I traded in 3:30pm cruising around town with shoveling manure.
• I traded in Friday night lights with all night driving to the next stock show.
• I traded in normalcy to jump in a car and head to another school to speak on leadership topics… to people the same age as me.
• I traded in sleeping in on Saturday to build fence with my Dad
• I traded in summer camps for leadership seminars
It was through the above that teaches us how to be productive members of society and contribute more than what was given to us.

I cringe when I hear the ‘outside’ labeling FFA or an Ag Science student as a future farmer or rancher.  Don’t get me wrong; we need farmers and ranchers more than ever and my hat tips to the men and women who choose that profession. But… I argue that FFA teaches much more…
My fellow FFA brothers and sisters are now doctors, lawyers, preachers, photographers, accountants, technologists, coaches, teachers, advisors, professors, veterans, CEOs and the list goes on and on.

FFA clearly makes a positive difference in the lives of young people by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success (period).
We farm in much different ways, but the common thread is an irresistible urge to do, learn, live and serve.

Robert A. Henson
Global Business Manager
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