By Meredith Oglesby, OCJ FFA reporter
From growing crops to managing a herd of livestock, students have a range of projects for their supervised agricultural experiences (SAE). These projects allow students to engage in real-world agricultural activities and gain career ready skills outside of the classroom.
From the inspiration of her agricultural education instructor and with the help of her grandpa, Lauren Wright, from the Miami East MVCTC FFA Chapter, markets and manages one acre of sweet corn.
“My SAE experience has made me realize what an awesome community that I live in. The support from family, friends, and community members has been so supportive in many ways,” Wright said.
Wright set the goal to make the business the best it can be.
“I have started working towards this goal by fixing every error that has popped up so far and by sometimes just being one step ahead,” Wright said.
She really enjoys the opportunity to meet new customers at her house or at the farmer’s markets. The experience has taught Wright the value of time management and she has grown more independent.
“This SAE has developed me to be a leader through running my own business and it has taught me how to manage a business to run smoothly,” Wright said. “It has also helped me with my communication skills by working with customers.”
The hard work to maintain and manage this business has allowed Wright to learn and grow as a high school student.
“My proudest moment with my SAE is that as a highly involved high school student, I am able to make an impact on our local agricultural community,” Wright said.
Carlie Cluxton, from the Peebles FFA Chapter, always knew she would be involved in helping with the family farm and through her FFA SAE program she has learned more about the importance of the agricultural industry. She helps run the family farm by managing their herd of commercial cattle, farming hay and grain, as well as managing her own small herd of registered Limousin cattle.
“This summer I hope to gain more experience helping my dad in the fields so I can have more knowledge in the grain aspect of our farm,” Cluxton said.
For the herd of Limousin cattle, she is able to make decisions for feeding, when to breed, and how to manage the herd. Cluxton wants to add two more Limousin cattle to her herd currently consisting of two cows and one bull.
“I have been saving up money ever since I started 4-H and I began selling calves from my herd. I really hope to buy at least one heifer this fall, but that all depends on how my fair project turns out and how much profit I will receive from selling my calves,” Cluxton said.
Growing through the challenges she has faced has allowed Cluxton to become a better leader and owner of her operation.
“In the agricultural industry there are many hardships, but I believe that I am part of something greater and will take a few bad days if it means filling the need of something bigger than myself,” Cluxton said.
Cluxton enjoys sharing about her hard work and dedication to the farm with others.
“I just know my face lights up because I get excited that someone is interested in something that I can advocate for,” Cluxton said.
Through her projects she has gained skills of money management, commitment and responsibility.
“Through my SAE I have been able to take pride in my own operation and learn how I can reap the benefits of the labor that I put into anything,” Cluxton said. “Being able to see the benefits has allowed me to become more motivated in getting to the end product in any project I set out to complete.”