Swisher works on family farm

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Swisher works on equipment on his family's farm near Marshall, which is owned by his great uncle and cousins.

Ian Swisher, a Marshall High School senior, joined FFA as a freshman in high school initially because his whole family "has always been in agriculture."

"And I was just interested in learning more about possible career fields," he said.

Swisher, the son of John Swisher and Frances Spickerman of Marshall, was one of five Marshall seniors who were recently honored as State FFA Degree recipients at the Missouri FFA Convention held April 14-15 in Columbia.

Ian Swisher is one of five Marshall FFA members who earned the State FFA Degree on April 15 at the Missouri FFA Convention in Columbia.

His Supervised Agriculture Experience has been working on his great uncle's farm near Marshall, along with several cousins. He also has five acres of his own crops on the farm.

He normally works 20 to 25 hours while he is in school and 40 to 50 hours a week in the summer.

His duties include helping with planting and harvesting, along with "whatever else has to be done." Those jobs sometimes include helping with putting in tile, painting sheds, tractor repair and cutting brush.

Through the job he has learned if you "get in a hurry, stuff goes wrong."

"I guess probably the main thing I've learned is do it right the first time and take your time to do it right. Don't get in a hurry and make mistakes about things," he said. "I've learned to kind of take things not necessarily in leisure, but be sure about what I'm doing and be confident about what I'm doing."

He has also learned many useful life skills in his four years as a member of FFA.

"Definitely leadership skills that's a big one," he said. "I've also learned how to communicate better with people."

His favorite activity in FFA was the Washington Leadership Conference held in Washington D.C.

"It was just a really moving experience, the way they presented information. It makes you realize what's wrong in the world and how you need to do your part to fix it," he said.

Swisher said he would definitely recommend to incoming freshman to join FFA.

"The opportunities are endless almost," he said. "Not only is it fun, but you can capitalize on certain areas that you want to improve on. If you want to be a better public speaker, this is the place to be. If you want to meet more friends this is the place to go."

Besides the state degree, Swisher has earned other FFA honors including chapter proficiency awards in Agricultural Repair and Maintenance and Design and Fabrication. He also won awards for leadership and scholarship.

He has participated on several Career Development Event teams including Dairy Foods as freshman, Soils as a sophomore, Forestry as a junior and Ag Mechanics this year, going to state for the past three years.

Besides FFA, Swisher has been involved in other activities including baseball as a freshman, along with Birdcage and the A+ program for four years and is a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Marshall. He also has participated in several stream cleanups.

In his spare time, Swisher really likes "doing stuff outdoors" including hiking, riding a bike or any other outdoor activity. He also enjoys reading.

"I also like working on my truck -- I don't know if that's a hobby or that's essential," he said laughing. "It doesn't leave a bad taste in my mouth, so I guess it's a hobby. "

Next fall he is planning on attending Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville to get a double major in Ag Business and Ag Science.

After graduating he said he would be part of his family's farm -- Swisher Farms and "farm with the rest of my family."

Contact Marcia Gorrell at

mgorrell@marshallnews.com