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
“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
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.