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  Joshua Powers,
State Vice President

Home Chapter
Smith Mountain

SAE Project(s)
Supervised Agricultural Experiences were a huge part of my FFA experience. Throughout my FFA career I developed an Agricultural Sales, Beef Production and Agricultural Education SAE. My Agricultural Placement SAE was based on my work in my family's tractor dealership. I was proud to step into the family tradition of serving area farmers and home owners in finding the right equipment for their operations. Overtime as my SAE developed my responsibilities expanded to include large equipment sales and management roles. My family also runs a SimAngus cattle operation together. As a fifth generation farmer, I have a love for production agriculture and enjoy finding innovative ways to improve our herd. My favorite SAE was my Agricultural Education SAE. Alongside my sister I started a nonprofit, Restore the Harvest, which works alongside farmers in Southeast Africa to improve their agricultural practices in order to help them provide for their families. My role involves writing curriculum, researching better management practices and teaching livestock production workshops. Our philosophy is to help farmers help themselves in order to create independent lasting change.

Favorite CDE or LDE
My philosophy when it came to CDEs and LDEs was to try as many as possible. I enjoyed each one I tried and learned something unique from every event. However, reflecting on my FFA career two CDEs standout: Livestock Evaluation and Tractor Operators. I wasn't able to join FFA until ninth grade because at the time my county did not offer middle school agricultural education classes but I was in 4H. Through 4H I started livestock judging when I was nine. When I got to high school I knew that I wanted to continue judging. My freshman year my best friends and I actually won the Virginia FFA Livestock Judging Contest and competed at National FFA Convention. Since I couldn't compete in FFA livestock judging anymore after winning, I made it a goal to win the State Tractor Operator's Contest in honor of my grandfather. It took me all four years of high school but my senior year I achieved the goal. Tractor Operators taught me how to set a goal and be diligent in working towards it.

Favorite FFA memory
It's hard to chose just one FFA memory as a favorite but I can say that Virginia FFA Camp is at the top of the list. My first year at camp I was the only one from my school that attended. I was nervous I wouldn't make friends or fit in but that didn't last long. FFA Camp showed me the best parts of our organization: a welcoming community and a passion for service. Some of my closest friendships were developed at FFA Camp. I would highly encourage FFA members and advisors to attend FFA Camp. I know the weeks I have spent at camp not only impacted my FFA career but helped me understand who I was and how I could I serve my community.

Future Plans
Currently I am proud to be a Virginia Tech Hokie. This year I have taken the year off to serve Virginia FFA but next year I plan to return to Blacksburg to complete the Agricultural Technology program. After that program is completed I plan to pursue a degree in Agricultural Economics or Animal Science. After graduation I plan to create my own role in my family's farm and tractor dealership after graduation. I also hope to grow Restore the Harvest in order to fight hunger insecurity in rural African communities.
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