For the first time in 34 years, a Forest City Future Farmers of America member was elected into an Iowa State FFA office this year.
Forest City High School gradate and Forest City FFA alum Natalie Jefson was elected to be the Iowa FFA secretary for the coming year.
In this position, Jefson will be serving nearly 16,000 Iowa FFA members as part of an eight-member officer team for the state.
“Natalie and the eight other state officers will spend the next year traveling the state leading FFA events, speaking to organizations and businesses, helping with the Iowa State Fair and organizing the next Iowa State FFA Leadership conference,” Derek Straube, agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser for FCHS, said.
Jefson said she did a lot of work with her mentor Josh Earl before the nine rounds of interviews a couple weeks ago, which included a stand-and-deliver speech and several questions.
With her new position, Jefson specifically will be in charge of the social media and helping with news outlets, including a new video series, “What’s Up, Iowa FFA?,” in which she’ll talk about FFA issues and events.
“I’ll be doing chapter visits with people, and a big part of it is doing leadership workshops and conferences, so I’ll be facilitating leadership events and activities,” she said.
Jefson is attending Iowa State University this year.
Jefson said she will be able to balance her college work and her FFA duties because many of the advisers at ISU are good at understanding the FFA commitment because a lot of them have done it themselves.
She said she plans to work with her adviser to figure out how to balance her FFA duties and her schoolwork.
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“I’ll probably take a few online classes and then I’ll try to block my schedule as much as I can so that I can hopefully have one or two days off a week to be able to do chapter visits and work on state officer things I need to get done,” she said.
She joined the FFA because her adviser, Straube, asked if she wanted to join her sophomore year, and although she was skeptical and unsure about it at first, after going to her first event, soil judging, she discovered she really enjoyed it, Jefson said.
“It was just a really interesting activity because I got to see something I’m not normally interested in, but it was cool to do it for a day,” Jefson said. “And so I feel like FFA gives me a lot of new opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have had, and I’d really like to see the other students getting those opportunities that we have that are unique to FFA because you can’t get those experiences in any other activities that we do in high school.”
Jefson said she hopes she was able to inspire other members in her chapter to “go above and beyond.”
“I hope I gave them the idea of going, reaching for bigger things because it’s something I didn’t think I could do until I tried it,” she said.
Jefson also hopes to get other members excited about FFA and show members across the state they could reach for the things they want regardless of when they join or if they feel like they’re behind or not, she said.
“FFA gives every student, every member a place to find where they belong,” she said. “So I really hope to accomplish that, showing them that FFA has something for everybody and they could find their place within FFA.”
Jefson said she's excited to pursue her new position in the FFA and thinks it's a good opportunity to serve not only the state but also her chapter and represent them in a positive light.
"I hope I can make them proud," Jefson said.