Clovis graduate FFA leader

Cole Andes of Clovis was elected vice president of the state branch of the National FFA Organization. (Staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

He envisions himself as a game warden or an agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But for now he is reveling in his appointment as the leader of 11 area chapters of the National FFA Organization, previously known as the Future Farmers of America.

Cole Andes of Clovis is the first Clovis FFA member to be a state vice president of the FFA, according to Clovis FFA members. Elected president of FFA District 4, he also becomes a state vice president of the organization.

“This has been a dream of mine since I was a freshman (in high school). In my opinion, the FFA is the world’s greatest organization. It offers so much,” Andes said.
The 19-year-old graduated from Clovis High School in May. He plans to attend Eastern New Mexico University in the fall.

As an FFA vice president, Andes is required to meet at least once this year with the 11 chapters in his district. He will also attend and promote FFA events in New Mexico.

Andes was elected into the dual position earlier this month by fellow FFA members. He represents members in District 4, which includes Clovis, Portales, Texico, Grady, Melrose, Fort Sumner, House, Floyd, Elida, Dora and Tatum.

Fellow Clovis FFA member Kayla Urban described her peer as “level-headed.”

“He is really focused, and he is always willing to help someone. If need help, I always go to him,” she said.

His campaign hinged on conversations with other FFA members — and the distribution of a lot of business cards, he said.

The FFA is “dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education,” according to its Web site, www.ffa.org. It operates on local, state and national levels.

Andes said the organization, of which he has been a member since his freshman year of high school, has indeed molded him into a leader, and much more.

“I would be in a totally different place right now (if not for his membership). I don’t think I would be nearly as responsible as I am now,” Andes said.

The organization was founded in 1928 in Kansas City, Mo. Sixty years later, organizers dropped the title “Future Farmers of America” to reflect the growing world of agriculture, the Web site said. More than 300 careers exist in the field, from agri-science to biotechnology to turf grass management, according to the Web site.