Young farmer wins FFA American degree



November 21, 2012 - 12:00 AM

Emily Clark keeps setting the bar higher for herself. She recently was awarded the FFA American Degree for farming, the highest award given in FFA. 
Clark, 19, is the first Iolan to receive this award in a long time and Iola’s only female to receive the award.
“That makes me really proud,” Clark said.
Clark has been in FFA for six years and had begun renting eight to 10 acres from her dad each year when she was a freshman in high school.
“My dad would put it on his tab and when I would make my profit I would pay him back,” Clark said.
Her dad kept her to her word, even to working her land. Clark not only plants the crops but she fertilizes, tests the soil and works the machinery such as the combine.
“Driving the combine is just like driving a car in a big field, it’s not like you can really hit anything,” Clark said.
If Clark wasn’t able to work on her land, her father would do it and she would make it up by working another part of his land when she could.
She has mostly grown wheat but has done soybeans and tried corn once.
She planted corn two summers ago when the first drought hit and her crop was not successful.
Clark didn’t let that kill her spirit for farming, rather she took it as a learning experience. Being from a farming family, she knows that’s the name of the game.
“The program, helps build you up to become an entrepreneur and own your own business,” Clark said.
Assisting Clark in her success was her FFA adviser Charles Kerr.
“He worked with me even after I left high school,” Clark said.

CLARK is a sophomore at Kansas State University studying agronomy after having attended Allen Community College.
“It is nice to meet people who share a love of farming like I do,” Clark said. “I wish we had more of that in high school.”
After college Clark plans to either work at a co-op or scout the fields. She plans to own her own farm later in life but realizes it probably won’t happen right out of college.
She will be moving to north central Kansas when she is finished with school to be with her boyfriend, Kaden, in Smith Center.
“Farming is such a way of life for me that it’s not something you work around but you grow with,” Clark said. “It’s fun being out in the field. I love getting dirty and the smell of the dirt. I am proud to say that I farm.”

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