Kaitlyn Hanvey, Verdigre
I am Kaitlyn Hanvey. I grew up in Verdigre with my mother, Kelly, and two younger brothers, Cody and Jake. In the fall of 2016 I attend Wayne State College as a pre-med major; however, that did not last long. Instead of continuing on the pre-med path, I decided to follow my passion and pursue a degree in agriculture. I will now attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I will major in agricultural education so I can follow my calling to teach and share with others my passion for the industry as a high school agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.
In high school agriculture classes I learned about many of the different aspects of our industry. I enjoyed classes that focused on topics like livestock management, mechanized agriculture, agronomy, and economic or financial impacts of our industry. I participated in FFA events such as parliamentary procedure, public speaking, veterinary science, livestock evaluation, and livestock management.
I had multiple components within my SAE program. Through my diversified livestock production program, I raise and operate a flock of crossbred ewes that I lamb out every spring. I also have a small share in my family crossbred Angus cattle herd. I started out with one heifer that my grandpa gave me and from there I have grown my herd by keeping replacement heifers that I have shown at the county fair. I also have two horses that I use around the ranch sorting and herding cattle as well as riding trails with them. More recently, I purchased a few bantam chickens. I have also added an agriculture business component through my work at Bomgaars in my hometown.
In high school, I was actively involved in band, choir, HOSA|Future Health Professionals, National Honor Society, 4-H, one act, speech, LYF, and Knox County Cattlemen. In college, I was part of the Northeast Community College Livestock Judging, and I look forward to my new experiences at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
Manual (Manny) Acosta, Bayard
I am Manuel Acosta. I have lived in Bayard for the past thirteen years with my parents - Juan and Mary, my brother Gordon, and my sister Martha. I attended Bayard Public schools.
I love agriculture, and I always have! While growing up in a rural town, becoming involved in agriculture was not a difficult task. Starting in fifth grade I began breeding, raising, and showing rabbits and chickens. My passion for agriculture grew stronger when I entered the agriculture classroom as a freshman. Taking agriculture classes has allowed me to gain a better insight on the agriculture industry, and has allowed me to grow in my Supervised Agricultural Experience program as well.
My placement SAE of diversified agricultural production includes working at Kildow Farms, a local farm and ranch. I work during the summer and part time through the fall. My SAE consists mainly of irrigating and I also spray crops, work cattle, and help with harvest. Working at Kildow Farms has made me want to further my education to pursue a career in the agriculture industry.
Throughout high school I participated in several activities in addition to FFA. These activities include football, basketball, golf, choir, band, one acts, and National Honor Society. I am also an active member of the Sacred Heart Church. I am a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in agricultural economics. My goal is to work in production agriculture management in the future.
Cheyenne Gerlach, Tri-County
I am Cheyenne Gerlach from DeWitt. I was raised by my parents, Rick and Amy, on a small swine operation. I have three older brothers, a younger sister, and a younger brother. My childhood was spent watching my older brothers put on their blue jackets as I waited for it to be my turn. I’ve been in the show ring since I was five and many of my favorite memories come from shows, late nights in the farrowing house, and early mornings in the pasture.
Some of my favorite agriculture classes include Natural Resources, Animal Science, Horticulture, and Agribusiness. My most memorable FFA experiences include being a participant in the Ag Issues Academy, National FFA Convention, and Washington Leadership Conference. These experiences opened my eyes to the work that needs to be done to share the truth about agriculture. I was inspired to create my own agriculture advocacy blog as a result of my FFA experiences. .
My agricultural education Supervised Agricultural Experience program served as a stepping stone to my future career goals. It provided me with opportunities to communicate the truth about our industry, which for me is just the beginning. One component of my work-based learning experience included teaching elementary classrooms about Norman Borlaug, genetically modified organisms, and world hunger. I also include diversified horticulture production and swine production as other components of my program.
In addition to FFA, I have also been involved with the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, 4-H, and speech team. At the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, I deeply explored the work of Norman Borlaug, met with experts from around the world about food insecurity, and started looking for my role in the fight against hunger.
I plan to work someday as a lobbyist in international food security. I plan to not only be an advocate for pro-agriculture laws and policy that will help feed developing countries, but eventually, I want to be an agent of change. In college I will major in agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Nicholas Taylor, Logan View
I am Nicholas Taylor from the Logan View FFA chapter. I live on my family’s farm where we grow corn and soybeans outside of Nickerson. My mom and dad raised my older and younger brothers, Matt and Nathan, and me on our farm. My tractor and combine rides with Dad and Grandpa first sparked my interest in agriculture. Now, I am able to drive tractors, the combine, and grain trucks on the farm.
Ever since I saw my brother in FFA, I wanted to join. I felt like this was the perfect way to demonstrate my interest in agriculture and continue to learn upon what my dad and grandpa had taught me. I could not wait to take my first agriculture class - Agri-business. After that, I took Agri-business II, Ag Mechanics, Horticulture, and Ag Employment. My favorite FFA activities have been prepared public speaking, National FFA band, and creed speaking.
Working on the family farm was a part of my diversified crop production Supervised Agricultural Experience program. The other part of my SAE included working at Syngenta Seeds research plots. I also have an entrepreneurial vegetable production segment of my SAE. All of these components of my SAE have prepared me for my career goals by providing funds for my higher education and giving me business experience in running my own vegetable production business.
Throughout high school I was involved in many organizations and activities. I ran cross country and track, played percussion in marching, concert, and jazz band, and volunteered in my church. I have also attended Nebraska Leadership Seminar and Boy’s State. In college, I will major in actuarial science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. My future goals are to become a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and raise a family on a farm.
Christy Cooper, Waverly
I am Christy Cooper. I am the daughter of John and Karen and appreciate my relationship with my younger sister, Kate. I grew up outside of Waverly on our family farm where we raise beef cattle, grow corn and soybeans, and put up hay. Our menagerie of animals also includes peacocks, chickens, show hogs, horses, and goats. We have a little of everything!
After completing the intro to agriculture course as a freshman at Waverly, I promptly enrolled in more agriculture courses. I was amazed by all the things I was learning. I continued to learn about agriculture outside of the classroom though my Supervised Agricultural Experience program. I have an agriscience SAE where I conduct different research projects. I also have an entrepreneurial beef and production components of my SAE program.
When I am not participating in FFA activities I can be found working on my speech for the Waverly Speech Team, helping the community through National Honor Society, and showing my horses and livestock in 4-H shows. My SAE projects connect to my future career where I hope to manage a ranch and be able to incorporate new technology in agriculture. Eventually, I want to start my own cattle herd, and I am also interested in agriculture advocacy on intranational and international levels in the future. I will major in Agricultural Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Collin Swedberg, Wallace
I am Collin Swedberg. I have lived my whole life on my family’s fifth generation farm with my parents, four brothers, and my one and only sister. Our farm is only a couple of miles outside of North Platte, but I attended school in Wallace because I value having agriculture classes be part of my high school education.
I enjoyed my high school coursework in agricultural leadership, livestock management and many other areas. As a result of the knowledge that I gained through the agriculture classes I have taken, I was able to participate in a variety of different activities that the FFA organization has to offer. Some of my favorites include livestock evaluation, parliamentary procedure, and my all time favorite - nursery and landscape.
My agriculture classes and FFA events are what interested me in pursuing my entrepreneurial vegetable production Supervised Agricultural Experience program I grow and sell produce at the local farmers market, and value all I have learned through my program.
In addition to FFA, I have participated in almost all of the activities Wallace has to offer, including three different varsity sports, Student Council, and National Honor Society.
I look forward to attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in agricultural education.
Halle Ramsey, Ord
I am Halle Ramsey form Ord, Nebraska. I have two younger sisters, Emma and Katie, and I own around 30 Hampshire-cross hogs. I originally grew up in a town that did not have an FFA program, so I did not know what FFA was until I moved to Ord in the eighth grade. I enrolled in Introduction to Agriculture course that year and became captivated by all that the industry and our organization have to offer.
I have enjoyed participating in FFA events like parliamentary procedure, ag sales, and farm and ranch management. I have the goal of one day obtaining my American FFA Degree.
While many of my friends had SAE programs connected to their farming operations, I was not raised on a farm, and was guided by my advisor to create my own SAE program. In the summer after my eighth grade year I bought a pregnant sow from my uncle and since then I have run a farrow to finish operation at my uncle’s farm. My entrepreneurial swine production program has greatly prepared me for my future goals because I ultimately want to become a lawyer and own my own firm that specializes in agriculture law. My SAE has instilled in me a strong work ethic, the ability to make quick decisions in high pressure situations, and effective communication skills.
Other than FFA I am also involved in Methodist Youth Fellowship, drama, and speech. I have also attended agriculture youth camps such as the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute. At NAYI, I was chosen as one of the three Nebraska representatives to attend a student exchange program in Taiwan for a week. I have such a deep passion for the ag industry because it is one of the only industries that impacts everyone in a huge way. If you want the ability to better people's lives on a global scale, agriculture is one of the best avenues to pursue.