Texas FFA News  
Supporter Spotlight: Stan Ray, Farm Credit    
Tuesday, October 15, 2019 | Author: Texas FFA News

How many years have you been a supporter and/or advocate for Texas FFA?
Farm Credit has been a Texas FFA Corporate and Convention sponsor for 14 years.
Tell us about your company and why a sponsorship with the Texas FFA is a “win-win” proposition.
Farm Credit is a lender to agriculture and rural communities throughout the state. As a cooperative, we are owned by the people who borrow money from us, so our mission is to help those people be successful by providing them access to a reliable source of credit and then sharing our profits with those same borrowers because they are our stockholders. As today’s FFA students pursue their careers and interests in the future, some will need financing to purchase land, support their production agriculture operation, or some other agribusiness. Naturally, we want them to think of Farm Credit as a partner and resource to help them fulfill their dreams.

How would you describe our Texas FFA members?
What I see at convention is very impressive – young people with skills and abilities that will serve them well in life and help them be successful at whatever they ultimately go on and do in their careers and communities. They are respectful, talented, and full of potential.

How would you describe our Texas agricultural science teachers?
My favorite teacher in high school was my ag teacher. He was a source of encouragement, life skills and experiences that are woven into who I am today. At the time, I was not aware of the level of resolve, dedication and sacrifice that is required to be a successful agricultural science teacher. I admire what they do and encourage them to remember the important impact they are having on the lives of so many people.

What is your definition of leadership?
I think of leadership in terms influence and setting the example. When I think about the leaders I admire, it’s not because of their title or position, but because of their ability to influence their cause, their organization, their people, and other stakeholders. Although they have a lot of confidence in their abilities, they are not arrogant. They earn respect for their effectiveness, how they handle themselves (especially in difficult circumstances), and how they treat others along the way.
What three things would you tell Texas FFA members to prepare for a successful career?
1) Look at a company website or job board to find the roles that interest you. Read the requirements, experience and education they list for that position; then go and get those things. In other words, focus on obtaining marketable skills that others are willing to pay for.

2) Although it is aspirational to want a career that aligns with your passion, don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen. You can be passionate about your hobbies, volunteer work, or other things you do in your personal time; it doesn’t have to be what you do for a living.

3) In addition to technical expertise and a good work ethic, there are softer and less tangible skills that will go a long way in any career. Being comfortable interacting with others in a variety of settings, being an effective communicator, being self-aware and emotionally intelligent, these are important life skills that demonstrate confidence, competence, and congeniality and lead to positive professional relationships.

Why do you think the future of agriculture is important?
We are blessed to live in a country with an abundant, affordable, and safe food supply. There are many places around the world where people are not so fortunate. Agriculture has advanced over the years to do more with less due to innovation, technology and economics; but we can’t take it for granted. 

Agriculture is a very broad field with lots of diverse opportunities for those interested in science, economics, communications, finance, engineering, technology, public policy, etc. Our country needs bright young people who are willing to lead the industry in the future.

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