Jesse Rader

Age: 16
Parents: Chris and Lisa Rader
Hometown: Claremore, Okla.
FFA Chapter: Oologah FFA
Advisors: Kadie Smith and Sammy Leonard

Background in FFA: “I have been in FFA for four years, beginning in the eighth grade and was raised on a four-generation farm. I began by showing dairy heifers which I still show. We also raise forage crops including sorghum, Bermuda, yellow hop, Red and White Dutch clovers and alfalfa in addition to raising beef cow-calf pairs and feeding out beef calves. FFA is important because it gave me an understanding of agriculture beyond production including areas such as public speaking and research.”

Explain your national-level winning project: “Three years ago I began leasing 10 acres from my parents. These acres contained eight mature pecan trees and numerous saplings. I grafted saplings with Pawnee and Kanza varieties since the native saplings don’t produce large pecans. Competitions of this kind are not centered on a few months of showing but rather on a yearlong process using best practices such as the application of pest repellents rather than pesticides. State space level competition requires an extensive application process that had to be upgraded for the national level competition with my updated record book and state win. The biggest difference between the national competition and the state one was an interview process with a panel of 6 judges and fellow competitors in the room. I won second in fruit production proficiency against older college contestants with larger operations. It is still hard for me to believe that last spring I was only a sophomore in high school and didn’t think I had a chance against high school seniors and college students to even place at the State space level. I was in the fruit category because pecans are considered fruit since the nuts form from a flower.” I also qualified with my national proficiency to apply with prepared essays and an interview for an International Travel Seminar abroad to Ireland this summer, which I won. I am excited to see what their agricultural industry looks like in comparison to where I live.

OFN Site ManagerArkansas / Oklahoma YouthArkansasJesse RaderAge: 16Parents: Chris and Lisa RaderHometown: Claremore, Okla.FFA Chapter: Oologah FFA Advisors: Kadie Smith and Sammy LeonardBackground in FFA: “I have been in FFA for four years, beginning in the eighth grade and was raised on a four-generation farm. I began by showing dairy heifers which I still...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma