Sydney Eickhoff has the creed: FFA confident.

The Kingsland ninth grader has been a member of the Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA chapter advised by Kristal Brogan for two years. She’s been involved in the career development events (CDE) of speaking the creed, which is a formal statement of the FFA beliefs, and general livestock judging. She has also been part of the Urban Ag program, FFA barnyard and summer ag programs, and has also helped with the summer garden and fruit sales.

“I joined because I wanted to learn more about agriculture and be part of an organization that promotes leadership skills.  FFA offers opportunities through contests, camps and conferences that help me explore my interests in agricultural-related career options,” said Eickhoff.  “I like that we have opportunities to meet new people from other FFA chapters who are also interested in agriculture.” 

She’s particularly active in FFA – and it has given her a voice in the organization.

“FFA experiences give me opportunities to learn how to become a leader in my school and in my community,” she said. “I have been a part of the FFA barnyard committee, and I enjoyed sharing the animals and educating the children about aspects of the animals they may not have known before coming to the barnyard.” 

She got to go to the national FFA convention this past year in Louisville, Kentucky. More recently, she has been working on a community pancake breakfast celebrating national FFA Week.  Earlier this winter, she participated in the FFA Greenhand Camp, which helped her learn more about the FFA organization. 

She’s also ready to stand before judges and tell them what FFA means to her as she is participating in the FFA creed contest. 

“I need to memorize the creed and speak it in front of a judging team and also to be able to answer questions regarding what it means to me and how it applies to today’s agricultural world,” said Eickhoff. “This is a public speaking event and it challenges me to speak in front of a group of judges while being articulate, poised and confident.”   

Eickhoff lives on her family’s farm outside of Wykoff and has been an active 4-H member since fourth grade, taking goats to the county and state fairs. 

“Each year, I have tried to improve my goat fitting, showmanship and livestock interview skills, and it’s not easy, as competition is stiff,” she said. “But it is also super rewarding, as the past three years, I have won a 4-H goat trip to the Minnesota State Fair.” 

What she has learned in 4-H has been complemented by what FFA has to offer, paired with mentorship from the family’s veterinarian. 

“FFA has helped me to think about a future in agriculture and what areas I may be interested in pursuing for a career choice.  The FFA contests are numerous, and there are many different areas to explore, such as forestry, landscaping, livestock judging, public speaking, horticulture, etc.  By participating in the contests, I can learn what areas are of interest to me and pursue those during high school and later in college,” she said. “One career option I have considered is becoming a veterinarian.  I enjoy working with animals, and this past year, I have been working with our vet on improving our goat herd health.  It has been so interesting.” 

Eickhoff plans to someday attend college, but for now, she’s focusing on being a freshman at Kingsland, immersed in FFA and creed speaking.  She encouraged others to give the organization a try. 

“Join FFA.  There will be work involved, but also so many learning experiences which can be fun,” she said.