College student Katie Ketchum never dreamed she could hold her current FFA leadership role. But her experiences in FFA allowed her to get to where she is today while learning a great skill: getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Ketchum says that every Blue Jacket starts in a classroom, and she wants to have the same impact her agriculture educators had on her.

Q: Where did you grow up, and what is your educational background? 

A: I come from a multi-generational dairy farming family based in the southeast corner of Minnesota. My sister and I are the 4th generation, and we have about 130 registered Jerseys and Holsteins. We also farm about 500 acres of land. I am currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin–River Falls where I am majoring in agriculture education and double minoring in animal science and dairy science. Throughout college, I would like to grow my own herd of dairy cattle. After college, I plan on being an agriculture educator in a rural community.

Q: How did you get involved in FFA?
A: Both of my parents were in FFA. In seventh grade, I wanted to be anything but similar to my parents. Then, as if it was planned, my homeroom teacher was the FFA teacher. He knew I came from a farming background and convinced me to go to my first meeting. Halfway through that meeting, I realized why so many people were involved with FFA, and I was about to be one of them.

Q: Why is FFA important?
A: FFA opens so many doors for opportunity beyond being a chapter, region or state officer. There are Career Development Events (CDEs) and Leadership Development Events (LDEs) that show FFA students how get ready for their careers. There’s a place for everyone in FFA. You do not need to know anything about agriculture to get involved, because FFA will show you the way.

Q: Is FFA continuing to grow?
A: It’s always growing. We have almost 16,000 members in Minnesota currently. By the 100th year of FFA, Minnesota is striving to have 100% membership, where all students who are in an FFA class are members of the FFA chapter as well. That will be around 40,000 students in Minnesota alone. There are new chapters that are trying to charter all the time, and it’s reassuring to see that FFA is on the rise again.

Q: What does being the president of Minnesota FFA mean to you?
A: It’s such an amazing opportunity to serve the state and all the students, but it’s not about the title. To me, it means giving back to an organization that gave me so much throughout my childhood. I love helping other students grow their agricultural stories, no matter where they are from. I’m just a small piece of the path that FFA is creating in Minnesota.

Q: What is the best way to get involved in FFA?
A: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. The best way to grow as a person and as a leader is to get outside your comfort zone. Throughout my time in FFA, some of the best things I did came from me being very uncomfortable, and they turned into things I would not change for the world. 

Learn more about the Minnesota FFA Association at