For many young women, the National FFA organization is where their agricultural journey begins. Yes, they may have grown up on a farm. Or been a part of agriculture in some way prior to joining the organization. But FFA is what sparks their career goals. Meet Mary Ann Fox, a FarmHer whose story sounds very similar to that experience. Currently serving as the North Central State Vice-President for the Iowa FFA, she grew up around agriculture but found her passion her sophomore year of high school through FFA: Agricultural engineering! A lifelong problem solver, this career choice came naturally.
Women in Ag Engineering
Mary Ann grew up on a custom feedlot operation east of New Haven in north central Iowa. Mary Ann started showing bottle calves at her county fair as young as they will let you. And eventually grew into showing horses at the fair.
In true FarmHer spirit, she took every chance she could to be outside on the farm. She loved being around the animals and caring for them. Even if that meant going out in below-freezing weather.
Growing up on a farm, she always knew she wanted to stay in agriculture. Where or how was always the biggest question to answer. She enjoyed solving problems for as long as she could remember, especially when it came to what she could fix with a string of twine.
Whenever a new product came out in the agriculture world, she was very interested to learn how it worked. And soon enough, that was what she realized she wanted to do. She wanted to be able to create new products, systems, or buildings that can make a farmer’s life easier, and increase overall production.
After scrolling through Iowa State University’s major catalog many times, she realized that Ag Engineering would be the right path.
FFA is Changing Lives
Originally, FFA started as “just another thing to do” when she was a freshman in high school. She went to meetings and conferences and participated in contests.
But it wasn’t until the end of her sophomore year that she realized that FFA could do so much for her if she put effort into it. Going a little bit out of her comfort zone would ultimately help her become a better version of herself through the organization.
FFA is also special for her because her father and two older brothers participated. She was exposed to it at a young age but never imagined it would take her to the places it has.
FFA State Officer
Right now her prestigious role in FFA keeps her extremely busy. Their state officer team is in the heat of getting ready for the 95th Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference that takes place in April. With this quickly approaching, an average day for Mary Ann is filled with getting workshops lined up, finalizing award winners, and writing the script for the session she is chairing. At the end of the day, it usually adds up to quite a few emails that she needs to stay on top of.
Additionally, she goes around to the chapters in the state for visits. These visits last a whole day, and it is up to each state officer to plan the activities that will be done.
On top of all of the FFA things that need to be done, they try to make it to college classes as much as possible and keep up with their schoolwork as best as they can. Can you say busy?!
After featuring Mary throughout National FFA Week, we couldn’t help but ask what her favorite thing about the special week is. For her, it is seeing how each chapter celebrates differently… and the food that usually gets brought to school to celebrate, of course!
Whether FFA is or was a part of your agricultural journey, there is one thing we can all agree on. It is an organization helping to pave the way for intelligent, capable, and impressive young FarmHers like Mary Ann.