National FFA Week is Feb. 18-25

DakotaLovett
Dakota Lovett is the Ag program's Student of the Month. He has been in the FFA since he was 14.

Dakota Lovett, a student in the Agriculture Business & Management Technology program at Southeast Community College, has been a member of the Future Farmers of America since he was 14. He says all of his experiences through the FFA have been beneficial, and he encourages all students to give it a try.

“You meet a lot of people through FFA, a lot of friends,” he said. “You want your voice heard through the Ag industry, and it’s opened so many doors for me.”

Lovett grew up on a cattle farm in the Blue Hill area, just south of Hastings. He spent his childhood working on the farm and showing cattle. By the time he got to seventh grade, he started his FFA experience and never looked back.  He was junior advisor officer in seventh grade, and president in eighth grade. Most schools only have chapters in high school.

“It was very popular in our area,” he said. “We got so much interest we started a junior high chapter.”

He said being part of FFA is more than just livestock judging and demonstrations. For Lovett, it helped him develop speech skills and become comfortable talking in front of large groups of people, not an easy thing for a teenager.

“It gave me people skills and how to present in front of a crowd,” Lovett said.

He said it’s important for youth in urban areas, not just rural, to be involved in FFA or similar organizations. He is seeing more involvement from areas like Omaha and Lincoln, and he hopes it continues to grow.

“FFA is the biggest student organization in America,” he said. “People need to know where their  food comes from.”

In addition to gaining useful skills, Lovett has also been able to travel to different states like Indiana and Kentucky for FFA conferences. He has met people from all over the world.

“It’s really cool to meet people across the nation and talk to them about what they do for the Ag industry,” he said.

Lovett’s older sister attended SCC a few years ago, and he and his twin sister, Montana, followed suit. He picked SCC because of its working farm.

“The other school I was considering did not have a farm,” he said. “SCC was more hands-on, so I decided to come here.”

 Lovett also received numerous FFA scholarships for college. He and his sister will graduate from SCC this spring and transfer to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the fall where they will study animal science. He hopes to eventually work in the fields of animal health or agricultural sales.

His instructors in Beatrice say he is very involved around campus.

“Dakota is a very diligent and hard-working student,” said Travis Pralle, Ag program co-chair. “He has stood out as a leader for SCC and is involved with Ag Club, Farm Bureau and the Student Ambassadors.”

In the meantime, Lovett is in the process of trying to start an FFA alumni chapter in his hometown. He will start an agricultural internship this spring through SCC and will continue to be active in the FFA during his time at UNL. He will always encourage fellow students to consider joining the organization.

“It’s not just for people who live on a farm or ranch,” he said. “You meet a lot of people. I made a lot of friends over the years.”

There are currently more than 7,400 members and 175 chapters in Nebraska.

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For more information contact:
Andrea Gallagher Haggar
Marketing Specialist
402-323-3395
ahaggar@southeast.edu