This is the fifth in our series of Nebraska FFA Officers where you get to know the 2014-15 team. This month, let’s meet State Vice President Andrea Wach from the Hayes Center FFA Chapter.
During high school, I competed in Floriculture, Livestock Judging, Agriculture Communications, Creed Speaking, Junior Public Speaking, Senior Public Speaking, Food Science, AgriScience, and had an Agriculture Demonstration team! I qualified as a State Star Finalist in Production, and Diversified Crop Production-Entrepreneurship Proficiency.
In high school who did you look up to as a role model and why?
As a high school student, I looked up to an upper classman, who happened to also be my sister, Larissa. She strives for success both personally and academically. She was the one who encouraged me to try different activities or contests that pushed me out of my comfort zone to help me grow in that particular area. Larissa led by example, as she was top of her class, started on the sports team, and would win district champion at FFA contests. She is my spiritual, mental, and physical role model.
What do you do for fun?
In my spare time, I really enjoy making fun little crafts for my friends or myself. Hunting and fishing with my little brother has become more of a hobby over the years. Spending quality time with my friends and family is where I have the most fun, whether it is playing sports, going to the lake, or sitting and having a conversation.
What were your Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAEs) and how did you become involved in them?
My SAE is in Diversified Crop Production-Entrepreneurship and I have raised sunflowers, wheat, and corn over the years. My older siblings had farmland that they rented and my father found me some land to rent for myself! Currently I farm 38 acres of dry land wheat and 60 acres of irrigated corn.
Where are you attending college and what are you majoring in?
I am attending the University of Nebraska – Lincoln to study Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication with a minor in Entrepreneurship.
What activities are you becoming involved with as a college student?
I am in the Engler Entrepreneurship Program, Agriculture Futures of America, the Honors Program, the Chancellor’s Leadership Class and plan to volunteer at a church in Lincoln.
What are your future career goals?
I have yet to decide which specific direction I want to take in Communications. I am interested in being a spokesperson, a broadcaster, and a writer for agriculture. I also plan to have a family, on the assumption someone will marry me, who is preferably involved in agriculture, and manage a farm of our own someday.
What inspired you to run for a state officer position?
Past State and National Officers have had immense impacts on me. Having personal relationships with them meant so much to me, and then those people remembering my name after one conversation without my FFA jacket on showed me that they really did value our conversation. I still keep in touch with those state officers to this day and cherish the connection we made. They led by example in their actions, words, and interaction with others and I strive to do the same now that I am in this position. FFA has also been a big part of my family. My dad was a State Officer back in his day so he has been a huge help with record books and contests over the years. He has helped me see all the benefits of being a part of FFA and the lasting impacts it will have. If there are enough people present at our meals he will request we do opening ceremonies. He is completely serious, don’t doubt him.
What has been the best part of your officer year so far?
The relationships I have made with members are irreplaceable. I enjoy hanging out and being able to know them on a personal level, beyond the name and chapter. I like to know how many siblings they have, what their SAE is, what they do for fun on a Tuesday night, and break past the walls of surface details. It is awesome to see true personalities come out over the course of three days at a conference together and even continue some of those contacts later on. Seeing their personal growth as a leader in a team or individual setting never ceases to amaze me. I smile when I think about the different people I have met these past few months and sometimes read my journal to remember certain memories together. Being “blobbed” by Mr. Kment from the Plainview FFA Chapter on the Hartington/Plainview/Pierce officer retreat was pretty fun, although the landing didn’t tickle. The whole camping trip itself was a blast.
What words of advice do you have for FFA members across the state?
Embrace the people who surround you. This does not mean you will walk over to your neighbor and give them a big ol’ hug. The second definition of embrace in the dictionary is “to take or receive gladly; accept willingly.” I look at my fellow officers and wonder if I ever would have met them if it had not been for State Office. They have each influenced me in a different way, pushed me towards my full success, and provided many laughs all the way back to Officer prelims. It makes me wonder whom I have been afraid to meet in the past. We sat around as a team and talked about our initial impressions of each other, and some of those may have prevented us from continuing a relationship. Embrace those around you, because you do not know the impact they could have on you or you could have on them.
What has been your biggest moment of learning as a state officer?
Understanding the impact of my words, the wording I use, and the tone I use can make or break the attention or impact on someone has made me step back and think before I speak. For those that have met me, they know I enjoy talking, and talking very fast. The position I am in has much more influence than I realized and how I act and talk could affect someone else. Facial expressions can have the same effect. Smiles are contagious, and I have seen that in large group settings. Being aware of my words and actions has definitely been a learning experience for me.