Elida grad elected state FFA president

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

As the new state FFA president, an Elida High School graduate is aiming to make a positive difference in others’ lives and go on to national FFA office.

Ryan Best, Elida’s valedictorian this year, was elected in June to his new office at the 81st Annual New Mexico State FFA Convention in Las Cruces. Since then, he has participated in training for the position and attended leadership events.

Besides being a freshman in agricultural education at New Mexico State University in the fall, Best has a number of duties as state FFA president.

“I think it’ll be a challenge, but I think it’s one of those challenges I’m ready for,” he said.

If he maintains the same discipline he used in high school, Best said, he expects to be able to handle all of his responsibilities. He can take classes with professors who will work with him, as well, he said.

Starting this summer, Best expects to attend conferences to help determine actions on issues affecting FFA and promote agriculture at the New Mexico State Fair and in the Legislature.

He also plans to help run an FFA judging competition and next year’s state convention, present leadership workshops and visit chapters around the state.

“I am very much looking forward to conducting my chapter visits and getting that one-on-one time with members,” Best said. “I feel that’s very important to keep our organization moving forward.”

Also, he hopes to put members’ suggestions for FFA into practice to “truly make this a student-based organization.”

As a new eighth-grade FFA member, Best was inspired by the time he spent with state officers and by seeing their influence, he said. He then wanted to have a positive impact on other’s lives himself and began working toward state office.

As a group, this year’s state officers’ goals include increasing FFA membership and participation in leadership activities, Best said.

Personally, Best is looking even higher.

“I hope to be able to run for national office in the next few years,” he said. “I think that would be an incredible opportunity to continue giving back to the organization that’s given so much to me.”

Elida High School FFA adviser Rodney Savage, who has known Best for about five years, said the student has the makings of a national officer and would do well in the role.

He called Best a dynamic young man with outstanding achievements in many areas, including academics and several aspects of FFA and agriculture.

Savage said Best is a good leader and role model, a fine Christian young man, humble and concerned about helping others as well as himself.

“I’m awfully proud of him, not because of the accomplishments, but because of the person he’s become through it,” Savage said.