Saturday, September 01, 2007

State Fair, Standards, Students 

Yesterday we made our annual trek to the Great Minnesota Get Together. While visiting the animal barns and seeing the ribbons won by MN youth, I recalled an article in the Pioneer Press, Sunday, August 26 that told the story of Paul Day, the outgoing superintendent of the State Fair FFA (Future Farmers of American) Show. Mr. Day, a fourth generation farmer, has spent his life teaching American youth as well as farmers as far away as Kenya, Russia and Japan. He is stepping down from his superintendent role this year, a position he held since 1985.

His motto, "Action not promises. Results, not excuses" garnered him critics but the fact that he had standards he enforced taught many students (and teachers) the necessary agricultural industry skills and book learning that make people successful and MN and the US leaders in world food production.

In far too many environments today, it is too easy for adults and youth to all get "blue ribbons", "best in class", etc. Truth is, we're not all blue ribbon in everything we do and we are not all best in class.

Reading about Mr. Day and his application of his standards leads one to believe that his students gained the necessary experience to succeed wherever they choose to go. As I've said before, my first choices for hiring would be those with military experience and those raised on farms. Both groups of youth understand life takes work and can be tough, it is not fair, and it is not risk free. They learn respect. They work. Mr. Day was a key influencer for many of the farm youth of our state.

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