The North Carolina Future Farmers of America Association selected Kaleb Wilson of Cerro Gordo as their vice president at the 90th State FFA Convention on June 21. Wilson will serve a one-year term of service as an ambassador for youth, agriculture and education.
Kaleb is the son of Michael and Sebring Wilson. He is a 2018 graduate of West Columbus High School, and he is an active member of Evergreen Baptist Church.
This year 21 candidates went through a two-day interview process that led to six being chosen as officers.
“In the coming 12 months,” Wilson said, “I hope to inspire as many members as I can to step out of their comfort zones and grow as leaders. It would be my dream to reach all 19,301 members of the North Carolina Association and show all members what they could achieve.”
Wilson plans to pass along the motivation that he received from his agriculture teachers and FFA advisors at West Columbus High School over the past four years.
Wilson recalled how Fred McPherson pushed him and his teammates to excel in the tool identification contest his first year in FFA. On the first day of team practice, McPherson told the students, “We are going to win the state contest,” Wilson said.
“Now we practiced every afternoon from mid February until the state contest in June, in which we did in fact win. The time that Mr. McPherson and Mrs. Hinshaw invest in their students is what makes all of the difference. From the second day of school until the very last day there are not many days that Mr. McPherson and Mrs. Hinshaw do not stay until 4:30-5 p.m. and sometimes later after school. They leave such an impact on students that the students do not want to leave practice or are not ready to leave the agriculture program at West Columbus High School.”
Wilson went on in subsequent years to win several competitions on the federation and regional levels. He won first place in tractor driving his senior year, and he is part of WCHS’s first-place forestry team, which will go on to compete at the national level in October.
In March, the county board of education recognized Wilson for his performance in the tractor driving event. He explained that competitors achieved a score for “driving through the course and not hitting things. I didn’t hit anything.”
Wilson began driving a tractor when he was 9 years old on his family’s farm in northern Columbus County. “Growing up, I have come to appreciate all that the agricultural industry provides,” he said. “On my family’s farm we raise cattle, horses, turkeys, and hay for forage. We are known for having the only turkey farm in Columbus County.”
Wilson will enter North Carolina State University this fall, majoring in agricultural business, a field relating to the marketing, sale, and finances of agricultural businesses or corporations. He said that his work on the family farm, his agricultural education classes and the FFA all led him to choose agricultural business.
While a freshman at NCSU, Wilson will spend more than 100 days traveling to visit FFA chapters, meeting with agribusiness leaders and representing the North Carolina FFA Association in various state and national meetings.
McPherson commented that, “Agricultural education and FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.”
Wilson agreed with that statement, saying, “I encourage anyone and everyone to take agriculture education classes and get involved with the FFA. Even if you have no ties to agriculture, the FFA can teach you so many things such as public speaking skills and technical skills that can transition into a college program or even into a job.”