Agriculture is certainly generational. Tonight’s featured farmer proves that Agvocacy is as well! Everyone welcome Whitney Jones.
Hands Pictured Above: Whitney Jones Age: 29
Involvement in Agriculture: I attended my first pig sale at 10 days old. It’s pretty much history after that. My daddy was in 4-H and FFA and it was only natural that I follow suit. I showed, I competed, I spoke, I served as an officer and, most of all, I learned. I learned what it means to have pride in what you do. I learned that without hard work, success means nothing. I learned that unless you want to be hungry and naked, you better take notice of agriculture. My degree is in ag. ed, and even though I teach English, I still strongly support the agricultural community. My daddy still raises show pigs and I still help out every chance I get. I also am fortunate enough to teach in a school and community where agriculture and agricultural education is fostered. I teach seniors so I take special pride in helping prepare them for the future. I direct 90% of my students to major in something ag related.I tell them it doesn’t matter what school they go to, the ag department will be the most helpful, most welcominig department of them all. Ag people are universal. We hold the same moral standards, the same love of people and the inborn ability to nurture those around us. I know that by sending my students into an ag related major I am setting them up for success, opportunity.
Most Difficult Moment in Agriculture: The day I had to hang up my blue and gold jacket for the last time was one of the saddest days for me. I was never someone who hated Official Dress. I remember distinctly the feeling I had when I first slipped my blue and gold jacket on. An overwhelming sense of pride washed over me as I reflected on all who had worn the colors of the FFA before me. Deep stuff for a 9th grader, but, man, I loved that jacket. When I had to hang it up for the last time, my heart broke a little. Maybe I didn’t realize when I hung it up that day that I would never wear it again, but days or weeks later it set in. I was no longer a current FFA member, I was now a former member. The same feelings hit when I ended my career as a 4-H member. My last State Round-up was bittersweet. I was proud of all I had learned and accomplished, but this part of my life was over. In fact, I remember calling my dad from my dorm my first week at college and asking him if he would buy me a steer. He didn’t tell me no right away…he missed 4-H and FFA as much as I did…it was hard on all of us to move on. My parents and I often spent more time at the barn or on the road for an event than we did at home. The greatest lessons I learned were taught to me in a showbarn and the best conversations I had with my parents were often held as we traveled the wee hours of the morning to a stockshow or competition. We all three felt a giant void when my days of blue and gold and clovers were done.
Most Joyous Moment in Agriculture: My most joyous moments in agriculture have always involved my daddy. I remember playing in the sand at stockshows long before I was able to show. He worked hard to instill a love of agriculture in me and he did a good job of it. My parents were at every event I entered, at every contest I competed in and they cheered me when I did well and dried my tears when I didn’t. Maybe this is why agriculture has always been synonymous with the word “family.” I firmly believe that one of the big reasons I didn’t get into trouble or get sucked into the wrong crowd as a youngster is because of agricultural organizations and the influence they had on my family. I didn’t have time to get into trouble (well, other than showbarn pranks…) because I was always busy. My parents always knew what I was doing and who I was doing it with. I became a responsible young adult because from a young age I knew what it meant to put something else’s needs before your own. When we were at a show, it was simply understood that no one ate or rested until the animals were fed and cared for. They came first. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my stockshow days were preparing me for motherhood. Being a mom has been my greatest adventure and though it hasn’t always been easy, putting my son’s needs ahead of my own is not a struggle for me. I get giddy at the thought of my son being involved in agriculture. He can be anything he wants to be, and I want him to know that I’ll always support him, but I also want him to develop a love of agriculture just as my parents did for me.