Sharing My Passion With New Mexico FFA Students

Nothing but my best. Last week I told you about my trip to New Mexico where I had the opportunity to teach elementary and middle school youth about Agriculture. During this trip I also had the privilege of being the FFA banquet guest speaker. Even though this was a first for me, I had to say I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to share my passion. In fact, Passion was at the heart of my presentation.

The banquet topic was Build Your Own Future, so I got to thinking, how did I start planning for my future? Well to be honest, I’m still building, and before I ever got a real start, I had to find my passion. How do you find that? Some words from a former boss have helped me quite a bit:

Your passion is something you would do even if you had to sleep in your car and work for no wages. Find out what that passion is and pursue with all you have. –Jason Floyd

Your passion doesn’t have to be Ag related (Although, I’d sure be glad if it was!). It doesn’t even have to be the same as your parents, or anyone around you. Each of us have to find a passion of our own, and pursue it with all we have. For me, my passion is ranching, more specifically raising cattle, working with horses, and that way of life. I am also finding that I am pretty passionate about sharing that story with others. How am I working to obtain that passion?

Lending words of advice to an FFA member. Photo Credit Gail Dunkle
  • Well I started by getting an education that I believed got me off to a good start, by obtain a degree at Oklahoma State. I saw the OSU Animal Science program as one of the most active programs in the field of cattle production. A program with many successful alumni in the respective field is a sign of quality.
  • Along with that education, I’ve worked to gain experience outside my comfort zone. I grew up on a ranch in Arkansas, learning the tools of the trade. But raising cattle in Arkansas does not teach me how everyone does it. So I traveled across Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Texas, working for different cattle operations, learning different methods of production. Broadening my experience beyond what is familiar has been extremely beneficial so far.
  • The learning process never ends. I am always looking for new experiences. Find mentors in your respective field, keep up to date by reading current publications, and always ask questions when you encounter new circumstances. Many of my posts include an educational aspect, so I do a lot of brushing up on the topics as I write.
  • As for sharing my story, Be open to new opportunities. As a Junior in college, I never imagined blogging about my experiences on a ranch in Wyoming, could lead to guest speaking at events across the country. I never foresaw writing blog posts 5 times a week, or even having an audience interested in reading about my ranch life. When opportunity shows itself, don’t be afraid to take advantage

For me ranching is my passion, and I love the opportunity to educate others about my work. While studying up for this trip, I ran across an interesting statistic. The average New Mexico farmer is age 60! That’s an alarming number. At first glance, this tells me young people are not returning to farming and ranching. It also tells me, those who do return to farming, do it later in life. It’s becoming more and more difficult for my generation to return to farming and ranching as a stand-alone way of life. The initial investment alone puts us in a hole of debt, nevermind the cash flow it takes to keep an operation running. We have to find a way to encourage younger generations to remain in production Agriculture, and to make it feasible. Where there is a will, there is a way.

To those of you looking to build your future, first find your passion, and once you find it, give your all to pursue it. Nothing in life will make you happier than doing on a daily basis what you love most.

I am very grateful to Estancia FFA for the invitation to speak at their banquet. I’m always open to similar opportunities to share my story and knowledge of Agriculture. If you have such an opportunity, feel free to send an email to

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  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself, Ryan. For this city raised, former Angus breeder, now ag journalist, whose passion has been Angus cattle for 60 years, my passion and mission today, is to tell people about agriculture and what it means to them and to the whole world and the world’s future. To let our city cousins know the incredible dedication it takes, the knowledge and hard work that farmers and ranchers have and do and the love they have for their livestock and that work. But I also want to tell young people the rewards there are in the knowledge that they are doing something so important, so necessary, that the human race could not exist without what they do, when they work in the field of agriculture.

  2. I just stumbled upon this post and as an alumni from Estancia FFA I can tell you the influence it had on me was significant. I’ve found my passion much like you…in agriculture. I’m glad that you are going around spreading the word of the importance of agriculture. It’s in reaching out to our younger generations that is going to help preserve agriculture. Thanks you for all of your hard work!

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