Next Gen Ag: A future ag leader shaped in FFA

by | Jan 24, 2024

Next Gen Ag is a year long series that will run on our In The Field blog, Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter account. Each Wednesday, we will highlight a young person pursuing a career in the agriculture industry. Individuals can be in high school, college, or recent graduates who are working to establish a career in agriculture. Stay tuned each week to meet some of our industry’s future leaders!

For many families and individuals, agriculture is made up of memories like working, learning and riding around the farm together. Jayden Bumpus has countless memories of doing just that with her grandpa on their family farm in Roxboro. From those early childhood memories to her years in FFA, Jayden has her sites set on a lifetime of agriculture and service to our state’s number one industry.

As a little girl, Jayden spent many afternoons riding around the farm property with her grandpa in the truck. “In addition to housing my grandpa’s livestock, our family land was leased by a community farmer for growing soybeans each year,” Jayden said. “Every season, my papa would drive me around and explain to me what all they were doing to plant, tend to and harvest the soybeans. Those memories of agriculture established a passion in me at a young age and have stuck with me ever since.” All throughout her middle and high school years, Jayden participated in ag classes and the FFA, where she continued to foster her love of agriculture.

In eighth grade, Jayden served as an FFA State Officer where she had many opportunities to learn about the process of agriculture in both plants and livestock, attend FFA conferences, harness her communication and public speaking skills, and so much more. “I fell in love with FFA the minute I got involved in the eighth grade,” she said. “It taught me the full circle process of agriculture and how it shapes our lives every day. It also taught me many life skills like how to be a leader, build relationships and work well with others. Both my advisors and my time in FFA changed my life and made me want to spend the rest of my life in this industry.” Jayden not only believes in the importance of agriculture because of the role that it plays in our state, but also the personal way that it impacts the life of every individual on the plant daily. “Agriculture is a big part of the world because it is the way that people live,” she said. “It’s a source of sustainability. It’s farm to table. It’s a personal experience for each individual multiple times a day.”

Currently, Jayden is a Senior at Cleveland High School where she is acting Historian for the FFA chapter of her school. After graduation, she plans on attending Johnston Community College for two years before transferring to N.C. State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education. “I want to be an Animal Science teacher one day and help change people’s lives like my teachers and advisors did for me,” she said. “Education is so important, and I want to be the person that helps young people learn about agriculture, how it impacts their lives, careers they can have in the industry and the ways that they can make a difference.” She would also love to incorporate livestock animals in her future somehow, whether it be hands-on in the classroom or in her personal time.

As a young person entering the agriculture industry, Jayden brings a lot of strong skillsets and talents to the table, including leadership skills, an outgoing personality, communication and listening skills and relationship building tactics. “I believe in the power of building relationships, especially in the agriculture industry,” she said. “FFA taught me a lot about community within agriculture and establishing strong relationships is a major player. People across this industry remember you and always aim to help you succeed. It’s important to foster those relationships so that they can continue to further the industry for years to come.”

Jayden encourages anyone with a passion for agriculture to get involved in the industry. “It will change your life,” she said. “You may not like everything that you try but put in the effort with every opportunity presented to you and you will find where your heart belongs.” Jayden also recommends taking ag classes, getting involved in an agriculture organization like FFA or 4H, and seeking out opportunities to get hands-on experience in the industry. We are excited for Jayden and wish her congratulations on her high school graduation! We look forward to seeing her continue to shape the N.C. Agriculture industry for the better.