Benefits of the ‘blue plague’

Luke Eide Columnist

 All of those blue jackets walking around campus brought back the memories I had from being in FFA.   The organization not only taught me valuable skills but also brought me closer to some of my best friends, even to this day. 

People may cringe about how the ‘blue plague’ is here to occupy space in the lunch line.  However, the blue plague is not a disease; they’re people, just like you and me, exploring the agricultural opportunities that await them. And who knows, some may even be in a class with you next semester.

 During the state convention, I was given the opportunity to help and score the Farm Business Management contest.  Needless to say, I’ve been years removed from taking the exams, but it brought back the memories of studying and learning not only with my teammates, but also with my dad and my agricultural teachers.

 The time spent working and preparing for these events has not only increased what I learned but also allowed me to learn what it means to compete.

 FFA was an organization that offered numerous amounts of opportunity right before my eyes.  It probably won’t come as a shock to most of us here in South Dakota but to others it might: Agriculture is filled with opportunity that is just waiting with your name on it. 

Speaker Michele Rook talked about that during the Ag Day Banquet held in the Volstorff Ballroom last Wednesday night.  In fact, thousands of job opportunities are right here in the Midwest.

 To most of us living here, this is not a big surprise.  We know that agriculture is fighting an uphill battle but it is also thriving in many senses.  The grain market exploded last year and now we are seeing a repeat with the beef industry.  However, funding for this comes at large expenses.

 Like I stated earlier, I worked at the Farm Business Management Career Development Event (CDE) on Monday and I started looking through the exams and noticed not that I had forgotten how to complete the exams, but how different my life is from the last time I had actually looked at those similar questions as a freshman in high school.

 My life has changed since high school; and if it weren’t for FFA, my life would be completely different.  I wouldn’t have met some of the people I have come to know really well, I would have never understood agriculture to its entirety (and I still have a ton of learning to do), and I would have never had those great memories to which I have come to remember this weekend.

 The blue plague is not a disease but it is, without a doubt, a family.  I have never met an FFA member who didn’t care about agriculture.  SDSU truly does put on an outstanding competition series for these young individuals and I hope that next year, they can still allow high school students the opportunity to learn about the field of agriculture . . . because clearly, the opportunities, careers, and needs are out there.


Luke Eide is majoring in ag education He can be reached at [email protected]