Growth for the Future

Grace Miller shows off her FFA award
Grace Miller, a sophomore agricultural education major from Walnut Grove, Missouri, received her American FFA Degree at the National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis.

Agriculture has been long been a significant part of sophomore Grace Miller’s life, from her participation in the National FFA Organization in high school to her experiences as an MU Honors College student in agricultural education with a concentration in teacher certification.

The Walnut Grove, Missouri, native has accumulated experiences and accolades. She competed at the national FFA competition in high school, worked on her family farm and conducted an agricultural science fair project.

On Nov. 2, 2019, Miller received her American FFA Degree at the National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. Less than one percent of FFA members are awarded the degree each year.

“I was just crying, crying, crying, because I realized all that FFA has done for me,” Miller says. “The opportunity to see that I am capable of challenging things and being in charge of people. I felt the sense of community and love from my own chapter and my friends that I made around the state and the nation.”

Miller’s participation in FFA changed the trajectory of her career toward agricultural education. She says coming to Mizzou — her dream school since fifth grade — was an easy choice after visiting campus for FFA events and opportunities to connect with CAFNR faculty. She also received the Missouri Land Grant Honors Award.

Miller is currently taking the “Cuts, Culture and Context” Honors tutorial, which highlights the history and processes of barbecue and is co-taught by J.D. Bowers, Honors College director, and Jim Spain, vice provost of undergraduate studies.

Although Miller is naturally interested in agriculture, she took the course because of its buzz and reputation. The class includes visits to barbecue sites in Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis. One of her favorite parts of the class was meeting Doug Worgul, author of the barbecue novel Thin Blue Smoke (Conundrum Press, 2015) and the Honors College’s first Author in Residence.

“I loved learning about his thinking processes behind writing the book,” Miller says. “The connections we have through Dr. Bowers and Dr. Spain, having people to come and speak to us, are super awesome.”

Outside of her studies, Miller is an Ag Ed Ambassador in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, and a second vice president of Sigma Alpha agricultural sorority. She is also traveling this winter to Jacksonville, Florida, through Mizzou Alternative Breaks to work for Habitat for Humanity.

Through her experiences and education, Miller says she wants others to recognize the importance of agriculture in society.

“Through organizations like FFA, and through the work our agricultural department is doing here, we’re trying to help educate people and help the world,” Miller says. “Feeding them, supplying them, clothing them — all that good stuff.”