FFA State Degree Winner: Kaylee McEachern: example of non-farming FFA member

Monday, June 3, 2013
Kaylee McEachern (Contributed photo)

Slater FFA member Kaylee McEachern is a good example of what FFA can mean to any student, whether they are from a farm or not.

"I'm a very non-traditional FFA member, I've never lived on a farm," she said, adding her first farm experience was last summer when she helped a friend haul hay.

"There are so many opportunities through FFA even if you dont work on a farm, including the leadership skills, the public speaking, the contest teams," she said.

The daughter of John and Shelley McEachern of Slater, she has taken advantage of those opportunities and received the State FFA Degree in April at the Missouri FFA Convention in Columbia.

She joined FFA in high school after taking an exploratory FFA class in 8th grade.

"We get a quarter to try out FFA and I really enjoyed it," she said. "It's something I've never done before and I was just really interested by it, so I decided my freshman year that I would just dive right in and see what I could do."

Her favorite activity was attending the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

"I was able to attend that last summer and I had a blast," she said. "I got to meet people from all across the nation."

Although she said she wasn't shy to begin with, FFA has helped her be comfortable speaking in front of large groups.

"I wasn't shy around just small groups of peple, but I wouldn't have done anything in front of a large group of people," she said. "I've done prepared public speaking for a couple years and I had a lot of fun doing it. It helped me become a better speaker and it will help me in college."

Serving as an officer has also helped McEachern with leadership skills.

"It's always fun to work with a small group of students your age and help the chapter be the best it can be," she said.

Her Supervised Agriculture Experience has been baking and selling cinnamon rolls, working as a lifeguard at the Slater Pool and working at Bunny's Bed and Breakfast in Arrow Rock. Since December, she has also worked at Sherwin-Williams in Marshall.

"I've learned I have to be on top of things and I have to be very responsible try to manage my time wisely," she said. She has been very active in the Slater Chapter serving as parlimentarian as a sophomore, president as a junior and junior advisor this past year. She also served as Area 6 sentinel.

As a sophomore, McEachern was one of just 30 FFA members in the state to go to the Missouri Agri-business Academy, which she called an "amazing experience."

She also has one many FFA awards, including Group I ratings for the Poultry, Meats and Livestock contest teams. She also was a member of the Parliamentary Procedure and the Farm Management teams.

McEachern has also been active in school activities as a member of the softball and basketball teams. She served as baseball manager for a few years, is National Honor Society historian, a member of Student Council, Pep Club and choir.

She attends Church of Christ in Fayette and volunteers at Big Bend Retreat, singing and performing in talent shows.

Her hobbies include hanging out with her family and friends as well as being in talent shows, singing and performing. She also likes to hunt, fish and be outdoors, playing or camping.

In the fall, she will attend Missouri Valley College to major in nursing. She will be in the school choir and honors program. She also hopes to minor in agri-business.

"I'm planning on going into nursing, but I am going to advocating for agriculture for as long as I live," she said. "It's a great organization to be part of because it shows you where all your resources come from."