INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011/National FFA Organization) – At age 4, Ryan W. Best idolized Chuck Norris in his role as a Texas Ranger on the TV series “Walker: Texas Rangers.”
Dressed in jeans, boots and a cowboy hat with a gold star hanging from his neck, he remembers giving chase, fighting and eventually corralling bad guys, most of whom were either his sisters or a collection of rowdy stuffed animals from around the house. He practiced his roundhouse kicks. Once, he even offered his law enforcement services to the county sheriff and a state trooper who he met inside a local convenience store before hitting the candy aisle.
“I was completely devoted to serving the golden emblem that hung on my chest. It signified who I was and began to define my perception of right and wrong,” Best remembers. “My dedication to service hasn’t changed – but it has been refocused. The focus of my service today has shifted to a different golden emblem that has molded the person I am. My perception of right and wrong has been reinforced through my involvement in FFA and agricultural education.”
As a conclusion to the 84th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Best was elected National FFA president for 2011-12.
Joining Best to serve as national FFA officers for 2011-12 are Jason Troendle of Minnesota as national secretary, Kenneth D. Quick Jr. of New York as Eastern Region vice president, Alicia Hodnik of Wisconsin as Central Region vice president, Cain Thurmond of Georgia as Southern Region vice president and Seth Pratt of Idaho as Western Region vice president.
“I hope to be a positive influence on the lives of fellow FFA members as national FFA president and am excited about the opportunity to represent the National FFA Organization as an ambassador to the public to share the story of agriculture to Americans across our nation,” Best said. “Americans enjoy the highest standard of living in the world because of the innovations American agriculturists have used to produce abundant, safe and affordable food, feed, fuel and fiber. It is essential that we embrace the changes facing our industry while maintaining a firm grasp of the traditions upon which our organization was formed.”
Originally from Portales, N.M., Best is currently a junior at New Mexico State University in pursuit of a major in agricultural and extension education and a minor in agricultural economics and business. He has been named a Crimson honors student and was named to the Dean’s List his freshman and sophomore years. A member of the Elida High School FFA Chapter in Elida, N.M., led by advisor Rodney Savage, he is the son of Kent and Sherri Best.
For the next year, Best and his national officer peers will be the face and spirit of FFA. Collectively, they’ll travel more than 100,000 miles throughout the country as they engage top leaders in business, government and education and lead a host of personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members. The team will also help set policies that will shape the future of the National FFA Organization and promote agricultural literacy in general.
Formerly known as Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization provides agricultural education to 540,379 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,489 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.