COLUMBUS — Shelby County’s Mary Buehler has done it again. She has just been named the 2016 Ohio FFA State President.
For the next year she will represent and lead Ohio’s nearly 25,000 FFA members.
“I have a unique opportunity this year to empower Ohio’s agricultural youth by serving as the Ohio FFA State President and the Ohio Fairs’ Queen. These two opportunities allow for a unified message to be put out to youth in agriculture,” she said.
Buehler, the 2015 Shelby County Fair queen was named 2016 Ohio Fairs Queen in early January.
Buehler, 19, daughter of Judy and Greg Buehler, of Anna, had been a member of the Horse and Rider 4-H club in Jackson Center and the Anna High School FFA. Before graduating in 2015, she played soccer, was a member of Shelby County Junior Leaders and served as the state president of Ohio FCCLA.
Prior to being chosen as this year’s state president, she was serving as the vice president.
“This past year of service has been a year of growth full of numerous memorable moments. When I began my year of service as the Ohio FFA Vice President, I could not even fathom the growth and impact that the year would bring,” she said. “The year was full of learning more about myself, experiencing more of Ohio’s agriculture, and being inspired by the various members I met through out this year.”
There were over 50 state officer candidates this year all aspiring to fill 11 spots. Five of those candidates, members of the 2015-16 state officer team, were applying for the position of state president.
To fill the officer positions a multi-step interview process is conducted, comprised of a knowledge test, writing sample, general interview, extemporaneous speech, impromptu situation, and a “Why I Desire to be President” statement.
Her 2016 speech included explaining what sparked her passion.
“The inspiration, passion, desire all started when I was merely ten years old. I distinctly remember sitting in the left center section of bleachers with my parents at the 2006 Ohio FFA Convention. The sea of blue was an overwhelming sight, and the excitement that surged through me as I witnessed my brother briefly appear on stage is unforgettable. There was something about the exhilarating atmosphere that led to me whispering, ‘Mom, I’m going to be one of those people some day!’ Many would brush that statement off as merely children’s nonsense but it has been lingering in my mind ever since and fueled the start to my FFA career.”
The slate for the ballot is then announced on the first day of the annual Ohio FFA Convention. Then an impromptu question was asked on stage to all the individuals on the slate. This question was answered in front of the voting delegates who then proceeded to cast their votes.
Buehler said she was hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst.
“Even prior to the ballot being announced, I had the attitude that no matter what happens, God has a plan. … When my picture popped up on the screen as the new state president, I was shocked. It was hard to wrap my mind around this new exciting reality. This was also a very humbling experience to know that I was selected by the members to serve another year with the Ohio FFA Association,” she said.
Buehler said a common nervous thought of many state officers, including herself, is the fear of not being able to live up to the high expectations that have been created through the work of all the hard working state officers before them.
In the next year she intends to work together with her fellow officers, and grow as individuals while serving the entire state.
“We will also be placing a focus on the nontraditional FFA member to expose them to the many opportunities that FFA has to offer them as a means of growing our already strong state association,” she said.
While Buehler will be waiting a year to start her sophomore year of college at The Ohio State University, she will be residing in Columbus. She said she is waiting a year so she can fully perform all of the duties of her new position. She said her freshman year re-assured her of her career path in agribusiness and applied economics.
“I want to thank my amazing support system. Whether its my family, community, my agricultural educators, administrators, past state officers, Ohio FFA staff, or several agricultural business I know they will be there for advice, knowledge and encouragement through and even after this process. This past year made me realize how blessed we all are to be from Shelby County,” Buehler said. “Each time I zip up my corduroy jacket, I get a surge of increased confidence and am reminded of my burning passion for agriculture.”
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825.