Meet Drew Pederson, son of Jana and Kipp Julson and Mark and Jen Pederson. He is a senior at Garretson High School and works hard to be a positive role model to the younger students he encounters.
Q. What made you want to join 4-H and FFA?
Being raised on a farm allowed me to find my passion for agriculture. I naturally joined 4-H as my family was involved in the organization for many years. Also, having my older sister (Tessa Pederson) participate in 4-H before me made me even more curious about the program. I joined FFA because of all the opportunities and adventures that it has to offer. Like 4-H, I knew I would have a passion and interest in FFA.
Q. How do you balance your Ag activities, classes, and community involvement?
Maintaining a high GPA (3.94) while balancing three sports and agriculture activities is only possible by being organized! The key is having a planner where my activities are prioritized and ensuring that my mom knows where I need to be and at what time. Having a supportive family allows me to be successful in everything.
Q. What did you enjoy about 4-H and FFA, and why should younger students consider joining those activities?
As a Senior, this is my last year in 4-H and FFA. I love competition and continuing my education in the ag industry. I will miss those opportunities, and I will also miss the friends & mentors I’ve made through those activities. Yet, what I will miss most is seeing the younger kids looking up at me & watching what I’m doing. I love being a role model for the younger generation! I think younger students should get as involved as possible in 4-H and FFA as they will get out of the programs as much as they put in. In addition, these programs offer useful benefits in everyday life and the future.
Q. What have you been taught in 4H, FFA, and other Ag activities?
I gained better time management skills and made many friends and contacts through 4-H and FFA. They also helped me strengthen my public speaking abilities. Speaking in front of people and teaching them about agriculture through presentations at 4-H and FFA competitions was the perfect preparation to become a strong public speaker. I will certainly use these skills as an adult!
Q. What are the most challenging aspects of 4-H, FFA, and Ag in general?
Striving to balance everyday life with school activities and taking care of my 4-H/FFA animals to prepare them for shows made time management my biggest challenge. Another challenge I found was with friendships. Many friends don’t understand the work required to prepare for shows and take care of livestock and why I would want to do this. They don’t realize that the benefits of 4-H and FFA are similar to the benefits of playing sports in school.
Q. Who helped you succeed in your Ag-related achievements?
My family members are my number one supporters! If I didn’t have them by my side, I don’t believe I would be where I am today. Also, my 4-H leaders/Extension agents & my FFA advisor have been extremely supportive of everything I do.
Q. What does your future look like?
Agriculture will always be in my
life! I was honored to receive a full-ride scholarship to pursue an associate degree in agriculture and participate in the livestock judging team at the Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kansas. After completing my associate degree, I plan to obtain my bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University,
studying animal nutrition with a major in animal science. I also plan to participate in the livestock judging team while attending SDSU. Once my bachelor’s degree is completed, I want to earn a Ph.D. in animal nutrition. Agriculture is in my blood & I’m passionate about 4-H & FFA. I hope that younger students realize that the friendships formed through these activities will remain with them always, and those friendships will offer them the support they need along the way!