Kolesen McCoy thought sports would be his ticket to success. But then he had a change of heart, quit varsity soccer, and joined the student organization Future Farmers of America (FFA), known today as the National FFA Organization. As he embraced the leadership and educational experiences offered, he took on leadership roles, first as an officer for his home state of Ohio, and then most recently, as president of the national organization which necessitated him taking a year off from college to serve in the role.
“It has all been worth it,” said McCoy. “The going to college, leaving, coming back. I learned so much as a leader of a nonprofit that educates over 760,000 student members and those working in the agricultural industry."
During his tenure as president, McCoy spent 2020 in Indianapolis and then Texas, developing content, addresses, meeting with industry leaders, and executing the first-ever virtual annual FFA convention. When the pandemic derailed plans for gathering in person, they were prepared to move into the FFA warehouse to execute the convention. Instead, RFD-TV stepped in and offered up the use of their state-of-the-art television production facilities in Fort Worth, Texas to ensure FFA could still deliver a student-focused and student-led convention for over 70,000 attendees. RFD-TV ‘s support took things to the next level.
“In the virtual setting, we could see live reactions of competition members,” said McCoy. “We zoomed into classrooms and delivered student recognition on a national level.”
McCoy said he now better understands the role students, education, and business play in the ag industry. As McCoy transitions back into life as an Agribusiness and Applied Economics student, he looks forward to furthering his education and reconnecting with the Ohio State Community.
"I love AEDE,” said McCoy. "I think ag business and applied economics are well suited to compliment my passions."
Passions that include people, thriving in business, and being a part of a well-grounded land grant institution that is so networked into the ag industry and throughout Ohio’s 88 counties. McCoy believes classroom learning will complement the experiential learning he received through FFA and assist with his latest undertaking – co-founding a nonprofit that focuses on ag education, the furthering of religion, and food relief for the underprivileged. AgriCross Ed is housed in a homestead on a farm in Springfield, Ohio where 75 acres are used to farm corn and soybeans using progressive farming practices, like soil testing after each harvest which McCoy believes will benefit students wanting to complete internships and experience progressive farming firsthand.
“I think I am in a cool position to continue ag education as a student and for students down the road," said McCoy. “I am really confident in where I am headed from here.”