Drake will return to the family farm

Monday, June 13, 2011
Jacob Drake works on the family farm near Grand Pass.

Jacob Drake grew up on a farm in rural Grand Pass. As a freshman at Santa Fe High School, he first joined FFA "because it had to do with agriculture."

Since then he has continued his involvement and this spring, shortly before graduating with the Santa Fe class of 2011, he received the State FFA Degree at the Missouri FFA Convention in Columbia.

Jacob, the son of Gary and Cristi Drake, worked at two different places as part of his Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE).

He started working the summer of his eighth grade year at the Pioneer Research center in Miami, where he pollinates corn and takes stalk counts.

"When the corn gets taller we go through the field and check for different diseases," he explained. Jacob works there about 40 hours a week during the summer.

Last year Drake also started working for his father on their row-crop farm, doing a little bit of "everything" including tillage, construction work, planting and harvesting. His hours "vary greatly" as he may work up to 70 hours a week during harvest, while cutting down to 15 hours or less a week during the winter.

Working at Pioneer, Jacob said he learned "a lot of leadership skills.

"During pollinating I will lead a crew and you have got to be able to talk to them and make sure they do the right thing," he said.

He has also learned a lot of responsibility working on his father's farm.

"On the farm, Dad will just tell me to do something and he expects me to get it done. If I don't know how to do it, I either ask him or figure it out on my own," he said.

As an FFA member, he said he also learned a lot of leadership and responsibility skills. He also had a chance to meet "all kinds of different people from all over."

One of his favorite activities in FFA was going to national convention as a senior. "It was really fun. It was well worth it," he said. Jacob had to fill out an application and was chosen along with eight or 10 others from the Santa Fe chapter to go.

He said he would recommend FFA to incoming freshman.

"They will meet all kinds of new people and learn a lot," he said. "Doing the ag contests they will learn a lot about what ever subject the ag contest is in."

Jacob participated in several ag contests, (also known as CDE or Career Development Events) during his four years. As a sophomore and junior he was a member of Ag Mechanics team, qualifying for state competition as a junior. He also qualified for state competition as a member of the Farm Management team this past spring.

He served as Sentinel of the chapter as a junior. For his work at Pioneer, he also won second in Area 6 for Emerging Ag Technology in 2010.

Jacob, who played football as a freshman at Santa Fe, is a member of St. Luke's United Church of Christ in Grand Pass and serves a member of the Waverly volunteer fire department.

His hobbies include farming and riding four-wheelers.

After graduation in May, Jacob began helping his dad on the farm full-time.

"I really had no desire to go to college," he said. "I decided I was just going to stay back and help dad on the farm. He needs help -- there is too much for him to do by himself."

Contact Marcia Gorrell at mgorrell@marshallnews.com