FFA Creed Lives Through Generations of Family Farm Values
“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.”
The FFA Pledge – words Gene Keller has lived by since he joined the organization in 1959. A lifestyle his family has honored since Gene’s great-grandpa bought a portion of the Missouri prairie in 1857 near what would soon become the town of Stewartsville.
One generation after the next, the Kellers have worked side-by-side, taking care of livestock, putting up hay and sharing the stories of past generations.
Through these stories, Gene’s granddaughter, Cierra Keller, now an FFA member at Stewartsville High School, has come to know the achievements won by the present and past generations of her family as well as the struggles of former years.
“Although times have changed and everything is different, it’s still the same – family working together,” Gene explained to his granddaughter.
As a member of FFA from 1959 to 1963, Gene has passed on to Cierra his belief in the importance of FFA’s role in teaching students the various trades of the agricultural industry and the farmer’s way of life.
So strong is Gene’s belief in the importance of FFA that he still owns the FFA jacket he received when Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House.
This summer, he and Cierra hung their FFA jackets side-by-side on a John Deere tractor and posed for a picture that embodies both the past, present and future of the Keller Family Farm.
Cierra, a high school senior, said, “After graduation I plan to attend Northwest Missouri State University, where I will pursue a degree in Agriculture Education. After college I plan to return to the farm to continue helping my family. By then, I would like to buy a farm and teach near my hometown.”
Gene couldn’t be more thrilled. “I plan to pass the farm onto Darrin E. Keller (Cierra’s father), and hopefully he will pass it on to his children.”
Gene’s plans line up beautifully with Cierra’s dreams. “I plan to work very hard to keep the farm, and hopefully raise a family there someday,” he said.
It is in the beauty of handing down strong family values from one generation to the next that America has been built. And it is with a faith born not of words but of deeds that it will continue.
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