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2011-2012 National FFA President
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In late October, a student from New Mexico State University received a coveted position to lead the nation's largest student organization as president.
Ryan Best, a junior at New Mexico State University, has been elected to serve as president for the National Future Farmers of America, an agricultural education-based organization that encompasses the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Best, along with five other individuals on the newly elected officer team, will serve and lead approximately 540,379 student members from across the nation.
From Texas Ranger to National President
Best hasn't always dreamed of becoming National President for the FFA. In fact, when he was 4, his biggest ambition was to become a Texas Ranger, much like the one Chuck Norris portrayed in a Walker: Texas Ranger. He recalls that when dressed in jeans, boots and a cowboy hat and also with a gold star hanging from his neck, he gave chase, fighting and eventually corralling bad guys, most of whom were either his sisters or a collection of rowdy stuffed animals from around the house.
Best practiced his roundhouse kicks. Once, he even offered his law enforcement services to the county sheriff and a state trooper who he met inside a local convenience store before hitting the candy aisle.
"I was completely devoted to serving the golden emblem that hung on my chest. It signified who I was and began to define my perception of right and wrong," Best remembers. "My dedication to service hasn't changed, but it has been refocused.
"The focus of my service has now shifted to a different golden emblem that has molded the person I am," he adds. "My perception of right and wrong has been reinforced through my involvement in FFA and agricutural education."
A year of traveling and more
Ryan will take leave from his academic career to become the face and spirit of the FFA. Collectively, he and his team will travel more than 100,000 miles throughout the country as they engage top leaders in business, government and education and lead a host of personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members.
"Just this past week, our team submitted our individual top choices of states we wish to visit during the year. I am extremely excited to meet and visit with members from different walks of life from that of my own," Ryan said.
Becoming a national officer in the FFA means instant celebrity status for the individual.
"Just in the few days following the election, I received well over 100 friend requests on my Facebook," Ryan said. "Now, I receive around 20 a day, and the total continues to climb. It's exciting and overwhelming, but also truly humbling."
Representing NMSU on a national level
Best, originally from Portales, N.M., is currently in pursuit of a major in agricultural and extension education and minor in agricultural economics and business in the College of Agriculture and Consumer Environmental Sciences at NMSU.
He has been named a Crimson honors student and was also named to the Dean's List his frehsman and sophomore years.
When asked how he will represent NMSU on a national platform, Ryan responded that his experience as an ambassador for the College of ACES will benefit NMSU.
"Our university is very diverse, and the experiences I've had here thus far have taught me that while we are each different, there is something that each of us can learn and gain from one another," he said. "I will be taking that attitude with me throughout my year of service," Ryan declared.
2010- 2011 National FFA Western Region Vice President
"120,000 Miles, 3 Countries, and the Belief of Service"
By Shannon Norris