Youth In Ag: Meet Kathryn Rausch

Meet Kathryn Rausch, 2022-2023 South Dakota FFA State Secretary. She is a sophomore at South Dakota State University, working toward a double major in Agricultural Science and Agricultural Education.

Q. What made you want to join FFA in high school?
FFA has been a large part of my high school and college experiences. As the youngest of seven children, I had the opportunity to observe how FFA impacted the lives of my siblings. I was inspired to follow in their footsteps and take advantage of the numerous opportunities such as premier leadership on teams and through office positions, personal growth through service opportunities and public speaking, and career success through networking and expansion of knowledge of the agricultural industry.

Q. What did you enjoy most about FFA? What would you say to younger students who are considering joining?
I enjoy growing through experiences and serving others. I also enjoyed the friendships I was able to develop! Never miss an opportunity to have a conversation and create a new friendship. The agricultural industry is built on relationships because we must help one another to succeed. Also, even though it may be scary at times, use all the avenues offered to develop yourself into a well-rounded person. Your comfort zone is one of your most significant limitations, so work to push yourself outside of it.

Q. What has your involvement in FFA and other Ag activities taught you?
Through FFA and the Ag industry, I am constantly surrounded by the wisdom of others who want to help me grow and succeed. I am very grateful for the unique chance to do and learn something new each day. Through my Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) I learned to work with and care for various animals, put up feed, grow crops, grow fruit and vegetable produce in the garden, and preserve food. I also learned the value of good customer service, accurate record-keeping, marketing, and advertising. This has taught me the importance of responsibility, hard work, honesty, passion, and the value of each thing I work with. I keep active by always studying the things around me and how to improve them.

While serving as a South Dakota State FFA officer, I had the chance to learn exponentially more about the agricultural industry and connect with those in it. On the collegiate level, I learned the importance of relationships with reliable people who can help you when you find yourself in a sticky situation. I also realized the importance of service on a larger scale. We are called to share our gifts and talents with others when we can. I have found ways to feel fulfilled by serving others too. Helping others is how we will keep our industry thriving.

Q. Who are the people who have helped you succeed in your Ag-related achievements?
My Ag-related achievements all lead back to my family, and I have worked alongside them my entire life working cattle, haying, and gardening. This allowed me to follow their examples of hard work, integrity, time management, enthusiasm, dedication, faith, and love for agriculture. They taught me never to settle but to always look for solutions to fix or enhance things.

Q. Do you think you will have a future in Ag, and if so, what might it look like?
I am pursuing degrees in Agricultural Science and Agricultural Education, which I plan to utilize as an ag teacher. My goal is to operate a farm/ranch and raise a family. Through my gardening, food perseveration, animal husbandry, and machinery operation skills, I hope to learn more, care for my family, and be a generous citizen of my local community and church.