DAKOTA CITY – Claiming that FFA has been good to get him outside of his comfort zones, Reed Burres, 17, is on the March 9 ballot for the North Central district election as its reporter.
Burres, a junior at Humboldt High School, is his chapter’s historian.
Burres was assisting, in full FFA dress, at a crop insurance workshop on Feb. 12 in Dakota City. The event was sponsored by AgriPeril Insurance Inc., of Humboldt, which is owned by Burres’ father, Tim Burres.
The FFA district candidate said he applied for district elections as a way to follow in his father’s footsteps, who served as the district’s sentinel in 1976.
Burres initially applied for the vice president or sentinel post, but after being interviewed by state FFA officers, he was recommended for the district reporter post, where he is paired on the ballot opposite Angela Chambers of Osage.
“It’s neat to follow in my father’s footsteps,” Burres said. “Even if I don’t get elected, I’m learning so much, to move out of my paradigm and to develop an overall camaraderie” with other FFA members in the district.
Burres said the FFA program has opened up doors of leadership opportunities for him.
“I’ve learned to be more outspoken,” he said.
His FFA project, or supervised agricultural experience, is in grain production, working for Burres Farms.
“I’m given a lot of responsibility to help on the farm,” he said.
He plans to also follow his father in a farming and a crop insurance career. He’s planning on attending Iowa State University, majoring in agribusiness.
On Tuesday, Burres was scheduled in a speech contest at the Southeast sub-district contest on the importance and necessity of crop insurance subsidies. It’s a farm program that could potentially be on the chopping block this year in farm bill debate.
His main premise? That the subsidy “costs virtually nothing compared to the national budget.” Federal crop insurance costs the average American roughly 7 cents per day, he said. “That’s one-quarter of 1 percent of the national budget.”
Crops insurance, he argues, allows farmers a certain amount of latitude in contracting crops.
“Once the spring price is set,” he said, “farmers can better manage inputs in conjunction with contracts.”
Without crop insurance, Burres said, a year like 2012 could set a farmer back financially one to five years.
He said he was looking forward to Tuesday’s since it would be his first chance to speak to a large audience. “This experience is basically free to me,” he said, adding he wanted to take advantageous of it and other leadership chances FFA has to offer.
Although he’s not listed for the posts he hoped for, burres said it didn’t really matter. “I’m ecstatic to be on the ballot.”
The reporter’s job, he said, is to document district activities and to maintain close relations with the media.
“This will open many doors to promote the district,” he said, “and I’ll bring hard work and integrity to the job.”
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