As a student at Florien High School in Florien, La., Dekota McGee dreamed about pursuing a career in healthcare but that didn’t stop her from joining the Florien FFA Chapter.
“I went to a small high school and wanted to be involved in a lot of different clubs and activities,” she says. “When I joined our FFA chapter, I found my place and met some of my best friends.”
McGee was the FFA chapter president and a member of the 2019 Louisiana state officer team, which provided her opportunities to travel to the National FFA Convention, participate on the floriculture team and earn state proficiency awards in ag sales and diversified horticulture.
Upon learning that McGee didn’t come from a farming family and had no plans to study agriculture in college, fellow FFA members questioned why she’d joined the organization.
“Agriculture impacts every part of our lives, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, and even when other industries decline or disappear, we will always have farming,” she says. “Advocating for farmers is a big deal, especially in a small town. Without our support, farmers could relocate and towns like mine could be wiped off the map.”
McGee, now a sophomore majoring in healthcare administration at the University of Louisiana, Lafayettte, remains engaged with the Florien FFA Chapter. She talks to her former FFA advisor about chapter activities, and answers questions and offers advice to a chapter member who just joined the state officer team.
“It’s important to be an advocate for agriculture,” she says. “Even if you don’t go into the field, you can still educate others about the importance of agriculture and you may even inspire someone else to join FFA or go into the field.”
Looking to the future, McGee hopes to incorporate her passion for food and farming into her career in healthcare administration; she also plans to become an FFA Alumni and Supporters member and continue to support FFA members coming up behind her—even if they have no plans to pursue careers in agriculture.
“I got so much out of my time in FFA and I want to give back,” she says. “I’m not going into the ag field but the leadership and communication skills I got through FFA and the contacts and friends I made will help me continue advocating