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National officer journey is a way to help others for Brockshus

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 11/14/2013 8:07 AM

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AMES —Running for national FFA office is way for Steven Brockshus to use his life experiences to help others.

Brockshus, 20, grew up on his family's dairy farm near Sibley. His grandparents, uncle, aunt and father milk 430 cows and raise 450 acres of crops. His parents are Jason and Shanise.

"Ever since I was a little kid, my parents taught me that once you start something you have to finish it," Brockshus said. "They also taught me that I have to take responsibility for my actions. After I was elected state FFA president in 2012, I started thinking about these values I'd been raised with and where my time would best be spent helping other people. I think I owe it to my state FFA members to follow through with this."

Brockshus never thought about national office until he attended the State President's Conference in Washington, D.C. The national FFA officers kept asking him if he'd considered his next step in FFA. That got him thinking.

He was selected as Iowa's national officer candidate in May, and it's been a whirlwind ever since.

He took one year off from Iowa State University when he was state president.

"I wanted to give my undivided attention to Iowa's 13,000 FFA members and help move our organization forward," Brockshus said.

He had the opportunity to work with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey on several events, spoke with agricultural business leaders and assisted with the Iowa FFA Foundation. He worked with his state officer team and with FFA chapters.

From Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 in Louisville, Brockshus, a national officer candidate, will take a quiz about FFA, ag education and agriculture, participate in a writing practicum and go through three interview rounds, meeting with the nine-member FFA nominating committee as a whole, individually and giving an ag advocacy speech.

The committee accumulates all candidates' scores, and the 50 percent with the lowest scores are eliminated. Those still in the running do three more interviews, run a student workshop and meet with stakeholders before the new officer team is announced Nov. 2.

Lisa Peterson, of Grimes, who was national president in 1998-99, and 2008 national officer Laila Hajji are mentors. He also has worked with David Frazier, of Tarleton State University in Texas, an agricultural education instructor who is familiar with the national FFA officer process.

"They have all been wonderful going through what the interview rounds will be like and talking to me about all aspects of the agricultural industry," Brockshus said. "It's been a huge journey of personal growth and development."

Brockshus is a sophomore majoring in ag education and global resource systems. His goal is to do agricultural mission work in a developing country.

Mike Earll, his ag education instructor and FFA advisor, is a longtime mentor. Earll retired from Sibley-Ocheyedan High School.

"My first day as a freshman, he told us we were way off the charts in good looks and superior in intelligence," Brockshus said. "He was always willing to drop what he was doing and help someone, and he taught me that if you want to do well, you have to work hard."

His parents and his band teacher, Peter Carlson, also are mentors.

"I am who I am because of my parents and how they raised me," Brockshus said. "Mr. Carlson taught me more than playing scales on my trumpet. He taught me about life."

His faith is important to him. He is active at Cornerstone Church in Ames.

"I wake up every morning thanking the Lord for a new day, and I fall asleep at night reading my Bible," Brockshus said.