3/21/2014 at 11:57 a.m.
Photo by KEITH SUTTON
Sunni Wise is completing her freshman year at Southern Arkansas University. The agriculture major is busy with school work, as well as her duties as FFA Secretary/Treasurer.
By GREGG PATTERSON
Arkansas Farm Bureau Public Relations
Sunni Wise, 18, is young, vivacious and all about ag. The Southern Arkansas University freshman is majoring in agriculture education. She’s also fully immersed this school year in ag issues as the 2013-14 state secretary for FFA. For Sunni Wise, it’s all about ag; strange, coming from a girl who didn’t grow up on a farm or get interested in agriculture until high school. The ag bug bit the Bismarck High School graduate in ninth grade.
“I signed up for my first ag class, because some of my friends were showing goats. I thought that was really cool,” Wise said. “I didn’t show a goat until 10th grade, and I absolutely fell in love with all of it.”
She showed goats the rest of high school and got involved with FFA. “I found my passion. No matter where you come from or what you do, you can be something, be who you want to be and work toward success in the FFA,” Wise said. “You don’t have to be a farmer or a scientist who’s going to create the next generation of soybeans to feed the world. You can just be you and bring what you have to the table. And I like the aspect of being in the FFA, and I like that you can make a difference in the field of agriculture no matter what you’re doing.”
Originally, Sunni thought she wanted to be a veterinarian. Then she realized that wasn’t it. She wanted to be around animals, she wanted to help people, and she wanted to make a difference. In eleventh grade, her ag teacher told her, “Sunni, I think you’d make a great ag education teacher.” She says she brushed it off, but then got to thinking seriously about it.
“My entire life I wanted to work with animals, which would be an ag teacher. I wanted to work with kids, which would be an ag teacher,” she said. “And I wanted to make a difference. What other job can you have to make a difference in the lives of people to help build them up into the people they want to be?”
It was then she knew she was going to be an ag teacher. “I’m really interested in Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program,” she said.
Through FFA, she’s become familiar with Arkansas Farm Bureau. Sunni was a Discussion Meet winner while in high school, proof of her skill in speaking intelligently about agriculture issues.
“Farm Bureau is an asset to FFA but just like FFA, Farm Bureau is only as strong as its members are,” Wise said. “So Farm Bureau can look to FFA, and FFA can look to Farm Bureau for strength. They’re beneficial to each other like a symbiotic relationship, and the result is both are helping the agriculture industry.”
Helping spread the good word about agriculture, that’s what Sunni Wise is all about. She says her FFA experience has even helped her teach her family about ag. She’s even managed to get her 14-year-old brother interested in agriculture.
“My little brother, Baylen, sent me a text recently ‘Sister I joined ag’ when he joined FFA,” Wise said. “He’s 14 now and has wanted to be a farmer since he was 12. How cool is that?”