For many FFA members, their supervised agricultural experience (SAE) begins in freshman or sophomore year of high school. Adam Eichacker of the McCook Central FFA chapter in Salem, S.D., credits the beginning of his SAE when his grandfather bought him a show heifer when he was 11 years old.
Over the years, Adam explored different avenues of agriculture, including raising hogs and land rolling. Now, his SAE consists of about 25 head of cattle and 82 acres of crop ground, which he uses to grow soybeans and corn.
“I’d have to give the beef herd side of things credit to my grandfather for buying me my first heifer and just really grown with it for the American Simmental Association,” Adam said. “Then the crop side of things, I just had an opportunity come up there a few years ago to take over a piece of ground, and not many kids are able to do that, where they have an opportunity to hop into agriculture, but that’s how I got started.”
Having the opportunity to try different agricultural activities, Adam said he is captivated with agriculture because it is an opportunity that many people don’t have.
“It’s not until I get to where I’m at now and nearing the end of my FFA career that I’ve really started to appreciate the opportunities that I’ve been given,” Adam said.
Adam said persistence is a tool he has picked up from FFA. Enduring through the tough days in the business—such as feeding cattle in the harsh South Dakota winter, braving below zero temperatures—make the great days better.
Adam is about to graduate from South Dakota State University with a degree in ag science. He intends on returning to the family farm.
“I guess it’s always been a sentimental, lifelong goal is just to work alongside my father; he’s a guy I give a tremendous amount of respect to and tip my hat to him,” Adam said. “I’d really like to partake in what I can on the family farm after college.”