Montana State University

Chasing the FFA dream

November 17, 2009 -- Melynda Harrison, MSU News Service


Chase Rose, right, and past National FFA officer Tyler Tenbarge talk in the Blue Room of the White House where they met with President Bush to discuss agricultural education. (Photo courtesy of Chase Rose)   High-Res Available

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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In the next year, Montana State University freshman Chase Rose will travel more than some statesmen and talk to more people than many professional speakers. Rose was elected central region vice president at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., in Oct. He was among six individuals selected from a field of 39 to hold national office.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is a youth organization of 506,199 student members - all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.

"It's a blessing to be elected to this," said Rose. "I owe my success to spending a lifetime in the FFA organization."

Fulfilling his position will require traveling more than 100,000 miles; meeting top leaders in business, government and education; visiting approximately 40 states; and participating in an international experience tour to Japan. His responsibilities will include providing personal growth and leadership training for students, setting policies that shape the future of FFA and promoting agricultural literacy.

Getting selected as a national FFA officer was an intense process. Chase attended mock interviews around the country, met with FFA members and stakeholders in Texas and worked with the departments of agriculture and education in Helena to gain insight on agricultural issues.

"It took months and months of preparation," said Rose, the son of James and Catherine from Clyde Park, Mont.

He first had to qualify on the state level to represent the Montana FFA associations. Next he submitted an application, detailing his accomplishments and contributions to the community, along with an essay explaining his desire to be elected to national office.

Once at the convention he participated in five rounds of interviews, took an in-depth written test about FFA and agricultural education topics and completed two writing exercises.

Rose is the seventh Montana FFA member to ever achieve a National FFA office and the first MSU student since Michael Stevenson, now assistant vice president of development at MSU, held office in 1991. Other Montanans include Robert Stewart in 1933, Roy Dee Meyer in 1942, Bob Barthelmess in 1943, Bill Michael in 1948 and Pete Knudsen in 1954.

"Chase is a wonderful product of our educational system here in Montana and we can all be proud that our system is one of the best in the nation," said Bill Jimmerson, state FFA advisor.

"He has a special ability to communicate and he always gives thanks to those who have helped him along the way. He is proud to be a student at Montana State University and now, as a National FFA officer, MSU becomes a headline college wherever he goes."

When your father is an FFA advisor and agricultural education teacher, becoming a leader in that organization seems like a natural progression.

"As far as I'm concerned, I've been in FFA my whole life," said Rose.

Rose is majoring in agricultural business at MSU and is pursuing a commercial aviation license. His passions for agriculture and flying have made deciding on a career tough. He already has a pilot's license and hopes to become a commercial pilot, but he still thinks he might work for an agriculture company.

"I've met so many people through FFA that are in the ag industry that working in ag seems like a natural fit," Rose said.

While at Shields Valley High School, he was a member of the basketball and track teams, student council, served as his FFA chapter's president and was president of his 4-H chapter. In 2008 he was elected president of the Montana FFA Association.

As a member of FFA, Rose has stayed active, participating in three supervised agricultural experience (SAE) programs. He has raised market hogs, worked in pest control, at an exclusive guest ranch and designed a website and started an Internet sales division for Way Out West, a feed and Western wear store in Livingston. Rose also has many FFA awards under his belt, including being named Montana's Star in Agricultural Placement, first place in the state agricultural sales career development event (CDE), second place in the state extemporaneous speaking CDE, and a host of others throughout his FFA career.

In his new role with FFA, Rose will be responsible for motivating and inspiring his fellow 500,000 FFA members. Rose hopes to build more education into FFA throughout the country and especially in urban areas.

"I think the biggest issue facing agriculture is sustainability and I think the key to sustainability is education," Rose said.

He also wants to urge FFA members to take advantage of opportunities such as school sports, clubs and running for school offices.

"Don't wish you had, but say you did," Rose tells FFA members.

Bill Jimmerson (406) 994-7050 or bjimmerson@mt.gov