Riskedal elected state FFA president
LELAND — Leland High School graduate Darren Riskedal has taken advantage of all FFA has to offer and now serves as state president of the organization.
A member of the Somonauk-Leland-Sandwich chapter, Riskedal said, “I’ve served as chapter reporter, vice president and president. Last year, I served as Section 7 president.”
His election to the presidency at the state convention in June in Springfield met with cheers from family, friends and fellow chapter members. He is the son of Joyce and Brad Riskedal.
“Our chapter was all there, along with some of our community members,” said chapter advisor Toni Saso.
“His mom and dad, obviously, were very proud. The kids were jumping up and down. It was a very proud moment for all of us,” she said.
Although she has only known Riskedal since he served as section president, she said “all that know him look up to him. He has the kind of leadership that can run a state organization.”
To do that, Riskedal said he will take a year off college. He attends Joliet Junior College’s ag transfer program. From there, he plans to go to the University of Illinois to major in technical systems management. In plain English, he explained that means he could end up with a position in production agriculture, agriculture engineering or a combination of the two.
Although he’s learned leaderships skills from FFA, Riskedal has gained a lot of first-hand knowledge in production agriculture. His family grows corn, and he and his younger brother, Stephen, raise a few head of beef cattle each year.
“We do a lot of custom harvesting and that (amount of acreage) varies from year to year,” he said.
Stephen Riskedal will be a sophomore at Leland High School in the fall, and he is a member of the local FFA chapter as well.
So far, Riskedal said he’s been through training for his new role, and spent time in Washington, D.C. for various meetings. Committee work is under way for the national convention scheduled in the fall, as well. He also will travel to Argentina to learn about agriculture in that South American nation.
“In the first two weeks of January, we’ll travel to Argentina and learn about ag there, how they do things, how it works for them, meet people and learn about their way of life,” he said.
The rest of the year is spent traveling the state visiting each chapter; talking with legislators about FFA, ag education and agriculture in general; and training officers as they move up the organizational ladder.
“The main thing is to travel around, meet members and advocate for agriculture,” Riskedal said.
In a nutshell, he said he tells people unfamiliar with it that “FFA is an organization that focuses on premier leadership, personal growth and career success through ag education.”
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