As 2010 comes to a close, we reflect on the past year and plan for a positive 2011. When I look ahead, I think about the future through a young person's eyes – full of hope and the belief that positive actions can change anything. The real world challenges faced by adults don't weigh them down.

We make resolutions for the new year; some last just one day; others become positive life-long habits. In the spirit of youth's enthusiasm, I'd like to reflect on the mottos of two national youth programs, 4-H and FFA.
4-H motto: "To make the best better"
FFA motto: "Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve."

If we reflect upon these mottos, we can use these thoughts each day as producers. We use education to make improvements and advancements to our businesses. And, in doing so, provide a living for our families and food for our communities. We are valuable members of our hometown, not only as food suppliers, but as employers, community members, and role models for dedication and commitment to a cause.

Each year, thousands of high school freshmen compete in the FFA Creed speaking contest. Participants memorize a five-paragraph speech and then respond to questions. While these young people have an affinity for agriculture, what they say touches the true spirit of why farming is so engrained in the lives of the generations who laid the foundation before them. As we look to 2011, take a listen to Tyler Schnaithman of Oklahoma. He placed third in the national contest this year.

The FFA Creed
by E. M. Tiffany

I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds - achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.
I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.
I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.
I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so--for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.
I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.

Just imagine if everyone embraced the beliefs of the FFA Creed. Will you take some of these core beliefs written in 1928 with you into the new year?

Happy and productive 2011!