Agriculture is a way of life for Gracie Danner of the West Liberty FFA Chapter in West Liberty, Iowa; she grew up on her family’s farm, where she saw an opportunity for a placement supervised agricultural experience (SAE) when they set out to grow their beef herd.
At Danner Farms, Gracie helps make breeding decisions, purchasing animals and deciding semen purchases for the thirty head of cattle in the operation. While overseeing the herd’s management, she has started working with other parts of the operation.
“I’ve also been working on developing our rations and transitioning that role from being a consultant to more being the one that decides what goes into every ration and overall herd management,” Gracie said. “I moved into the marketing and sales side of our herd as well.”
In 2014, she also practiced her marketing skills as a beef marketing assistant for Lehman Show Cattle.
As her role in her placement SAE has grown alongside her family’s beef operation, Gracie also said FFA opened her up to agriculture in a broader sense.
“Getting more interested and seeing the global-ness of the agricultural industry and the different ways my career could go is what FFA showed me, leading me to pursue a degree in agricultural economics at Kansas State [University] and having that larger perspective of ag.”
Gracie said both the science and career development aspects of FFA piqued her interest, and those experiences have helped her in her roles in sales and marketing and working directly with her family’s herd. In this junction of production agriculture and sales is where Gracie sees herself in her future career.
“My ultimate career aspirations would to be involved on the policy and trade end of agriculture,” she said. “I’ve learned the production side of agriculture through my SAE and gotten exposed to how trade and policy affects producers.”