This post is the sixth in our series of Nebraska FFA Officers where you get to know the 2014-15 team. This month, let’s meet State Vice President Ben Rice from the Norris FFA Chapter.
I was involved in many contests and activities throughout my high school FFA career. My freshman year I competed in Dairy Judging, Ag Sales, and Livestock Management. During my sophomore year I competed in Natural Resources, Livestock Judging, Land Judging, and Livestock Management. My junior year I participated in Farm Management, Livestock Judging, Land Judging, and Livestock Management. During my senior year at Norris I competed in Livestock Judging, and Extemporaneous Speaking. During all four years at Norris, I was involved in the 110 acre Norris FFA Learning Lab.
In high school who did you look up to as a role model and why?
I look up to many people in my life. I believe everyone influences us and we can take things from everyone and apply them to our lives. My dad taught me to always look into the future and think about where I want to be and what I want to accomplish. My brother-in-law showed me the importance of enjoying every day. Even my 2-year-old niece shows me the power of a smile and how important it is to enjoy the little things in life. Many people have influenced me in their own way. I am glad I have people in my life that have influenced me to always be better than I was yesterday.
What do you do for fun?
Whenever I am home, I typically spend my time out at the dairy, but when I get the chance I enjoy rebuilding and fabricating things. When I was little my Mom often had trouble buying me new toys because after playing with them I would take them apart to see how they worked and they would rarely be put back together correctly. I enjoy working on various projects. I have redone an old bike, built many pieces of wooden furniture, and work on my motorcycle and truck.
What were your Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAEs) and how did you become involved in them?
I have two SAEs. My first is Dairy Production Placement, working at Prairieland Dairy. I perform various tasks with the cows like breeding, vaccinating, and keeping records. I also am very involved in the feeding process and do many things including taking feed samples, developing rations, mixing, and delivering feed. My second SAE is managing Prairieland Gold, the dairy’s compost operation. I monitor the entire compost process, record temperatures, turn rows, screen, and bag compost for landowners to buy. I became involved in my SAEs from growing up on our dairy farm. At a young age I was given small responsibilities. As I grew up, my interest in the dairy grew and I took on more and more complex tasks.
Where are you attending college and what are you majoring in?
I am attending the University of Nebraska Lincoln and majoring in Mechanized Systems Management and minoring in Animal Science.
What activities are you becoming involved with as a college student?
I am exploring many things in college. I live in the AGR fraternity. I hope to become involved with Nebraska’s Ag Youth Council (NAYC) in the future to keep developing Nebraska’s agricultural leaders.
What are your future career goals?
After graduating from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, I hope to have a career designing agricultural facilities. I want to work with engineers to help design facilities and then oversee the construction and beginning operation of the new facility. I want to help in designing various operations; anything from processing plants to livestock barns, and possibly methane digesters.
What inspired you to run for a state officer position?
This past year I attended Washington Leadership Conference (WLC). At one of our home room discussions, we talked about what inspired our service plans we created. While members were sharing, I heard life changing stories of hardship and inspiration. Later that night I laid in bed thinking about everything that took place and I thought to myself what could be better than to help students seek out those life changing moments and put that drive toward making a difference in their school, community, and even world. Being a state officer would help me to reach across the entire state and hopefully reach out to thousands of members.
What has been the best part of your officer year so far?
I wouldn’t trade these past four months for anything. I have had the most fun in my entire life getting to know students from across the state. So far one of my favorite times this year was at N-Power. I had an amazing group of seniors that I can call my friends. It was awesome to see them grasp different concepts and develop ways to use them in their lives. I woke up every morning excited because I knew it would be a day I would remember forever.
What words of advice do you have for FFA members across the state?
My words of advice for FFA members are to seize opportunities. Find something that interests you and set goals of where you want that interest to take you. Everyday ask yourself, what can I do today to get to where I want to be tomorrow.
What has been your biggest moment of learning as a state officer?
My biggest moment of learning as a state officer came during COLT conference. COLT was one of the first big events I took on as a state officer. I had many learning and growing moments throughout those two weeks. The biggest moment of learning came when I realized Ben Rice is a state officer. Initially after being elected I was centered on turning Ben Rice into a state FFA officer. During COLT I realized to be a successful officer and leader, I had to mold my state office experience around Ben Rice. I started seizing opportunities with students, adding my own personality to experiences, and most of all, being real with members.