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Across the Editor's Desk: March 2009

Agriculture.com Staff 03/03/2009 @ 9:47am

When I first joined Successful Farming magazine, I particularly enjoyed the tales of Senior Dairy Editor Jim Borcherding. He would tell of visiting farms with three generations of family members working together. Each new generation brought ideas for the farm's success with results worthy of another article.

Over the last 32 years, I, too, have met many proud grandparents (who once where junior members of the farm business) and their determined grandchildren (who have chosen to live their own dream to farm).

Psychologists tell us that people pursue with the most passion what they dream about. But studies find only 20% of people say that's true for them in their current work.

Putting the farming dream into concrete words is one of the challenges for college-age aspiring farmers at the annual New Century Farmer (NCF) Conference. Participants write their personal vision statements for a future in production agriculture.

A highlight of the weeklong program is when students share their vision statements at the closing banquet. Parents and grandparents would be proud of the determination of the students to join the family business and their commitment to contribute to the farm's success.Jason Frerichs of Wilmot, South Dakota, gave a memorable vision statement in 2005. He laid out his plans not only to be a fourth-generation farmer but also to be a farming advocate through politics.

"My faith, family, and agriculture will stand solid when I farm and serve as governor of South Dakota," he concluded. That's dreaming big!

I caught up with Frerichs, 24, in early February to see how his vision and plans were progressing. "I feel confident that I will achieve my vision, and I am very satisfied with the level of my achievement," he said.

In 2007, he earned a degree in agricultural education from South Dakota State University. He farms with his father, Kent, and brothers, Aaron and Ryan. He also teaches at Lake Area Technical Institute and serves as Watertown Area FFA adviser. In 2008, he bought his first land. He also has served as Roberts County Farmers Union president. In November, he was elected as the youngest member of the South Dakota Legislature. His party's fellow state representatives also elected him democratic whip.

Frerichs is working on legislation to strengthen rural community schools and to put the fleet of state-owned vehicles on half E-85 or E-30 fuel. His constituents can follow his work through daily updates he writes on his Web site, jasonfrerichs.com.

Frerichs credited NCF with helping accelerate his career plans by understanding issues, connecting to resources, and networking with other students. "The confidence building for me at NCF was amazing, because to deliver my vision statement at the banquet was a big step," he said.

NCF is a special project of the National FFA Foundation. Students learn from leaders who preview emerging trends and technologies and identify the competencies and skills required for success in farming. It is sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont company; Rabo AgriFinance; Case IH; and Successful Farming magazine.

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