Editor’s note: This is part of a series of stories highlighting high school students from the Brazos Valley who are active in 4-H or FFA. The series, which is sponsored by Capital Farm Credit, will culminate with selected students receiving scholarships.
She may not be showing at the fair this year, but A&M Consolidated High School senior Abby Garrett is proving that supporting the agriculture industry comes in many forms.
“FFA has really started pushing in recent years that it’s more than cows, sows and plows,” Garrett said. “You don’t have to fit this one mold or kind of person. You don’t need to be someone who lives on land or raises animals to not only learn about FFA but work and live the industry.”
Garrett’s strengths as an FFA chapter officer for three years and as an area representative are apparent in her leadership skills and success on the Agricultural Issues Team, said Amber Jones, a teacher at A&M Consolidated High School.
“Abby is great at promoting what FFA is all about and how it is at the local, district, area, and state level,” Jones said. “She shows how it is not just about raising cattle and livestock, but that there’s learning responsibility, time management, character building, personable skills, things that you would use in the real world. That’s the side you see with Abby.”
Garrett has extensively researched topics, spoken to industry professionals and presented what she has learned. Last March, she participated in Texas Youth Institute’s World Food Prize where the paper she worked on received the Ambassador’s Choice for Viability. She was then chosen as a Texas Delegate at the Global Youth Institute, where later this month she will be presenting in front of people who operate at a high level in the industry, including representatives from the United Nations.
Through her involvement in these organizations, Garrett has been able to learn more complex issues about the agricultural industry that she might not have been able to learn about had she gone the more traditional hands-on route, Jones said.
“She is special. She comes from an ag background but in a non-traditional setting,” Jones said. “She is great for advocating for our program by doing big research projects and giving great speeches.”
Through FFA, Garrett has researched topics like soybeans in the United States-China trade war, feral hog control in Texas, and how herbicides are affecting water contamination in the College Station area. In the World Food Prize contest, Garrett wrote about making the locust swarms in Ethiopia edible rather than controlling them with pesticides.
“In this paper, we studied ways of catching and trapping the swarms of locusts so they can be used for consumption to compensate for the lack of crops created by the swarms,” Garrett said. “We also studied how people in that country would react to an insect option for consumption, including considering their religion and culture.”
In the future, Garrett plans to become a special education teacher, and while she won’t be working directly in the agricultural industry, she feels FFA has taught her that she can still be involved.
“It’s good to know about the industry no matter what field you’re in,” Garrett said. “I still see myself being interested in what’s going on in the agricultural industry and keeping up to date in facts and news and the legislation.”
In this Series
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