Las Cruces – New Mexico State University students may make up a small percentage of National FFA members, yet last year an NMSU student served as vice president of the National FFA Organization and this year an NMSU Aggie will serve as FFA's president.
Ryan Best is a 21-year-old junior at NMSU who was born and raised in Portales, N.M. After having held eight offices in eight years of involvement in FFA, Best was recently elected as the national president of the agricultural education organization with more than a half million members.
His first exposure to FFA was not at his school but at his grandmother's house when he came upon a faded blue folder with an FFA emblem on its cover.
"I opened the folder to find my granddad's American FFA Degree," Best said. "At that moment, I realized just how far reaching the National FFA Organization is. I knew once I became involved in FFA activities that I wanted to serve somehow within this organization."
The American FFA degree that Best found is awarded to those who have committed themselves to the organization and made significant accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experiences. He earned his American FFA degree in 2010.
Now in his junior year at NMSU, Best has reached the pinnacle of his collegiate FFA career by becoming its 84th president and will take a year off from school to perform his presidential duties which include traveling around the country and promoting and advocating for FFA, agriculture and agricultural education. Best will also travel to Japan in January to meet with agriculture officials and members of Future Farms of Japan.
Best plans on pursuing a career in education and will return to NMSU to complete his bachelor's degree when his term as FFA president ends in October 2013. After graduating he plans to earn his master's degree and eventually wants to teach high school.
"I am excited to teach agricultural education courses at the high school level because I will not only get to share my passion for agriculture with my students, but I will be given the opportunity to affect change in the lives of our future leaders," Best said.