Taylorville FFA adviser Katie King poses with her livestock judging team during their trip abroad in Ireland. Pictured left to right: King, Tanner Mickey, Jett Vickery, Layne Lebshier, Lizzie Schafer and Eric Schafer. (Photo courtesy of King)Published on: Jul 13, 2019
By Kari Slagel and Rita Frazer
Katie King from Sangamon County uses her professional position as the Taylorville FFA adviser to share agriculture’s story.
“When I was 18, I got involved in Farm Bureau through Young Leaders, so that was kind of a start for me,” King said. “I had a friend that was a little bit older than me, and she was pretty active with a lot of the things that they do with the community and throughout the ag industry, so that’s where I kind of got my start, and it’s just built from there.”
King served as a Young Leader chair for a couple of years, but she stepped down as she got involved in teaching; however, it hasn’t stopped her from staying involved and advocating for agriculture. She is active in Ag-Straviganza and Ag Acquaintance Day.
King said, “Being involved in something that has some of the say in the things that the industry is doing is nice. Being in education and being involved with Farm Bureau kind of gives me the opportunity to know some of those things that are in the forefront that we’re facing as an industry, so I can use those within my classroom.”
Illinois Farm Bureau delegates approved the new professional membership (PM) in December 2016. The new membership class allows nonfarmers who work in ag-related fields to have voting rights. Previously, voting membership was limited to farmers with at least $2,500 in annual farm income.
Being in her position in agriculture allows her to use the things she learns from her students and her classroom to bring back to Farm Bureau, she explained, and Farm Bureau is right by her side supporting her through it all.
King told the RFD Radio Network, “I received the Beginning Ag Teachers Grant through Farm Bureau. It’s something that they developed through IAA to help ag educators stay in the teaching field.”
This opportunity for ag teachers, she believes, helps keep younger teachers in the industry, especially those who have recently graduated from college.
For King, being an ag teacher has brought its own new experiences in agriculture. After great success in livestock judging, King’s FFA team earned a spot to travel abroad to Scotland, Ireland and London. By traveling abroad, she has been able to learn more about the agricultural industry and how it is different from one country to the next.