Portales native and Elida High School graduate Ryan Best was recently named national FFA president. He took a few moments to reflect on the achievement and his experiences during an interview with the Portales News-Tribune:
- What's one of your favorite FFA memories from high school and college?
FFA has afforded me so many opportunities since I joined as an eighth grader. I have come to appreciate just how much FFA can influence its students. As far as picking any one particular memory, I don’t know that I can choose only one. The first time I attended the New Mexico FFA Association State Leadership Camp as a freshman in high school, I was introduced to the amazing difference FFA can make in the lives of students. I decided then that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others through this organization.
- What was the hardest question to answer during interviews?
The week of interviews went so quickly that I can’t remember most of it, but one of the most difficult questions to answer in the interviews was “Who is your greatest role model?” This question was difficult because I have been blessed to have many role models in life and I have a hard time choosing only one. From my dad to my granddad to the many FFA members I have met so far, I have been blessed to see how I should live my life to serve those around me. John the Baptist once said of his service to Christ, “He must become greater; I must become less.” This passage has shaped my views of servant leadership. I must be willing to give of myself to build those up around me.
- What is the most important lesson you've learned in FFA?
FFA has taught me many things, parliamentary procedure, public speaking, interpersonal skills and a better understanding of the agricultural industry. However, I have to say the most important lesson I’ve learned in FFA is that the only way to influence others is through example. My chapter advisor, Mr. Rod Savage, has always told each of his students that there are three ways in life to be a leader. First is by example, second is by example and third … is by example. Each of us serves as an example for others, but it is up to each of us to decide what kind of example we want to set for others. This lesson has helped to shape my perception of leadership.
- What do people say when you tell them you’re from Elida?
To be honest, most people don’t know where Elida is, and if they have heard of it, they have most likely only stopped at the Allsup’s before heading on down the road. When people haven’t heard of Elida, I simply tell them to stop by and visit once and they’ll want to come back again.
You’re going to be traveling around the country as the FFA president. Which state are you most looking forward to visiting?
I am excited for the opportunity to engage and interact with members of our organization this year. I hope to make every interaction with others positive and encouraging. I am excited to meet FFA members from many states. I don’t know which state I am most excited to visit, but I am looking forward to the opportunity to interact with some of the most dynamic youth of our country and beyond.
- Who is the first person you called/text when you learned you were selected president?
After my name was called as a national officer, the next hour is a bit of a blur. I took part in a few media interviews immediately following the announcement and adjournment of the final session, but once I had a few free moments, the first person I called was my chapter advisor, Rod Savage. I am so grateful to have had a man such as Mr. Savage to be my adviser throughout high school and I was excited to share the news with him. After Mr. Savage, I called my sisters, Halee Goff and Reavis Best then my Grandad and MeMa, Wendell and Joy Best. My parents were able to take part in this experience with me as they were the first people I saw after the session.
- What are your plans after college?
After college, I hope to continue to be involved in the agricultural industry. I will take a year off college in order to complete my duties as a national officer. Afterward, I will strive to continue to serve as an advocate for the agricultural industry. Teaching agricultural education to high school students is something that appeals to me, not only because of the opportunity to share my passion for agriculture with my students, but for the opportunity to help develop our future leaders.
- What's the best part of growing up in a small-town such as Elida?
The best part of growing up in a small town such as Elida is the sense of belonging you have within the community. The traditions of agriculture are deeply embedded into the community and I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a part of them.
— Compiled by PNT staff writer Alisa Boswell