Victoria Snyder
Victoria Snyder

VAN WERT – This week marked National FFA Week, and Lincolnview graduate Victoria Snyder, one of Ohio's 11 State FFA Officers, spent the week educating local students about FFA and its importance. Nationally, FFA is the largest student-led organization.

Snyder is the first and only person to become a State FFA Officer from Lincolnview Local Schools so far. In order to qualify to become an officer, a student must have their State FFA Degree and meet an age requirement. To apply for an officer position, Snyder had to write and record a “why I desire” speech. She also had to take an FFA test, which questioned her on FFA history, Ohio agriculture, and more. Additionally, Snyder had to write two letters to sponsors and was interviewed for the position.

There are just under 2,600 FFA members in Ohio, and around 60 ran for the position of State FFA Officer.

“We all have a different reason for why we run,” said Snyder. “I wanted to serve others–those who impacted me greatly. [FFA Officers] speak on behalf of the Ohio FFA and National FFA.”

Snyder credits Jordan Dues, the FFA and Ag teacher at Lincolnview as well as Crestview FFA and Ag teacher Ericka Priest for helping her through the State FFA submission process.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Snyder’s year as State FFA Officer has been substantially different. When she was sworn in last spring, there was no ceremony or State FFA Convention. Instead, Snyder was sworn in as 2020-2021 Ohio FFA State Sentinel and then received virtual training from a National FFA Officer.

As Sentinel, Snyder would typically be stationed by the door, and when in-person meetings are an option, she is in charge of snacks and making sure other officers are prepared.

“At the beginning, we, obviously, didn’t know what the year was going to look like since everything was crazy,” said Snyder. “Most of it would have been in-person events, but our state staff decided that we should do most of it virtual.”

Last summer, Snyder was able to attend FFA Camp where she met the other State FFA Officers. In the past year since taking on the duties, Snyder has participated in summits on leadership and public speaking. These days she is working with teachers to do virtual workshops with students.

Snyder graduated from Lincolnview in 2020. During her time there, she participated in the local FFA program. But even before entering FFA as a freshman, she knew that she wanted to focus on a future in agriculture, despite not having the typical agricultural background of growing up on a farm.

She recalled one of the moments when she knew that swine, in particular, would become her passion after venturing to a family friend’s confinement barn.

“I walked in and there were thousands of piglets, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything cuter,” she said. “They are quite interesting animals. They are very, very smart. It’s funny to see how different they all are with me.”

Snyder noted that a common misconception is that pigs are dirty, but she said the opposite is true. Pigs are careful to keep the space where they sleep separately from where they use the restroom. When they do cover themselves in mud, it’s to keep themselves cool, since pigs don’t sweat.

Over the past few years, Snyder has been working at a local hog farm owned by Ernie Welch. She credits individuals like Welch for helping feed her passion.

“When I spoke about my ‘why I desire’ it was really the people that put me in that area (agriculture); they were always there for me,” said Snyder. “When I loved something, they weren’t, like, ‘you’re not a part of this or you didn’t have a real ag background.’”

Currently, Snyder is enrolled at The Ohio State University where she is majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Meat Science.

In the past year, Snyder has helped out with the butchering process and thinks that that may be a field she’d like to go in after graduating.

After college, Snyder said it’s likely she will move back to the Van Wert area and find work locally in the agricultural field.

This spring, Snyder will finish up her year tenure as the FFA State Sentinel. She explained that being part of the State FFA organization has taught her a lot of skills, especially adaptability.

“If I could take anything away it’s probably being adaptable,” said Snyder who noted that often plans would be made last minute due to the pandemic. “From a skills aspect–public speaking [is another thing]. Being a good listener is [also] one.”

Snyder said she’s been happy to serve local FFA members and loves hearing their ideas. Being a State FFA Officer has allowed her to have genuine conversations with local members and hear the input they are willing to give.

The State FFA Chapter has also helped her learn how to best utilize her strengths in a positive way to develop her leadership skills.

Snyder comes from a family of FFA members. Her dad, Jeff Snyder, was a high school FFA treasurer. Her uncle, Jordan, received his American Degree, the highest FFA honor, which Snyder has also applied for. Snyder’s other uncle, Scott, and brother, Colton, were also involved in FFA.

“Through everything, we’ve had so much support and people always wanting to help,” said Snyder of the past year. “I know this year was kind of unconventional but we wanted to focus on the members.”