If John Niemann had been skilled in mechanics as a young man, he probably would not be the person he is today—at one of the world’s largest providers of food, agriculture and risk management products and services.
“My dad wanted me to overhaul the engine on his lawn mower, so I signed up for FFA,” explains Niemann, president of Cargill Protein—Ingredients & International. “I learned pretty quickly that was not my skill set, but because FFA had so many other things that I liked, I kept going. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for FFA.
The Atchison County FFA Chapter in Effingham, Kan., cultivated his passion for leadership throughout high school. He served as district and then state officer, and he became state president in college. Niemann now presides as chair on the National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board.
“FFA guided me in a direction and gave me a vision for what I wanted to do and created a passion that I had in me that I didn’t know was there,” Niemann says. “It cultivated that, and I feel very blessed that I had that experience. Being on the board is to give back, and I hope that it can help expose other students to the same type of experience.”