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February 22
Kyle Hurley: FFA is valuable lessons and fond memories

In recognition of National FFA Week, we asked some GreenStone team members how their FFA experience guided their career path. Watch for their stories here this week.​ 

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​My experience with FFA began my freshman year of high school (1986) in the farming community in which I grew up in Jasper County, Indiana. The FFA chapter at my high school consisted of roughly 25 students, many from family farms like mine but others with no farm background but with an interest in agriculture. Being an active 4-H member and farm kid, it seemed only natural to join FFA in high school for the fun of it, if for no other reason. I did not intend to benefit greatly from joining FFA, but I did.

As a high school student, I was working on our family farm and my career goal was to return to the family farm after college and be involved in the management and ownership of the farm for the rest of my life. FFA was an opportunity to develop skills that would be helpful for that career as well as a way to have fun.

I did return to the family farm after studying farm management in college and began my farming career.  Some of the skills learned during my time in FFA were easily integrated into my farm work. Livestock judging, particularly “keep/cull” classes, translated into my weekly tasks of selecting replacement gilts for breeding and sorting market hogs for sale, for example. Other skills learned in FFA that were useful on the farm involved soil evaluation, farm management and production practices, and team leadership.

After many years of working on the farm, I made the decision to change careers and ultimately began a new career as an Ag loan officer, first with large banks, and now with GreenStone Farm Credit Services.  The FFA experience has continued to be beneficial in this second career path.  In particular, the skills learned around teamwork, leadership, and in making and explaining difficult decisions. Those were first developed in FFA during livestock judging and participation in leadership of the local chapter.

There is no doubt that my career path would have involved agriculture without my involvement in FFA, but through its twists and turns the FFA experience helped prepare me to succeed along the way.  

I am grateful to FFA for the valuable skills and lessons learned and for the fond memories. Those remain the lifetime benefits of involvement in FFA, and I would highly recommend it to students today.

Kyle Hurley is a vice president of commercial lending at our Berrien Springs branch



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