Off-Farm Income



In 1988 the Future Farmers Of America changed its name to the National FFA Organization because of Toby Winans.  Toby Winans was only born 18 years ago, and 1988 is 32 years ago, so how is this possible?  Well, Toby Winans is the perfect avatar for the person that the National FFA Organization was thinking of when they changed their name to reflect the growing diversity in agriculture.

What the FFA recognized in 1988 was that there were a lot of students in the United States that were devoted to agriculture but who did not have the aptitude or desire to do the ground level work of farming.  However, these students loved agriculture just the same and had something to contribute with their particular skill sets.  The name Future Farmers Of America could have the connotation of excluding these students because they already knew that they were not future farmers.

Capturing the talents and devotion of students like Toby is important.  If we can, we want to keep students with talent as he has in agriculture. We need people like him to stay around.  This is probably why Toby's FFA advisor refers to him as an "FFA member who 'saved the year'".  Here is a note that she sent me:

"Hi Matt,
This afternoon I set you up with an interview with an FFA member that "saved the year". Here are a few facts that might be good for your interview with Toby.

Toby Winans was a quiet freshman that has turned into a true leader for Taylorville FFA. Last year when Covid19 canceled the final 9 weeks of our school year, Toby knew that canceling our Annual FFA Banquet could not be an option. We have a large banquet every year with over 250 in attendance. (The banquet is Big Community Event).

When our school shut all extra activities down due to Covid19, Toby figured out a way to have our FFA banquet by using his technology expertise and was able to follow our county guidelines. Toby Winans was a master mind of the 2020 Taylorville FFA Drive In Movie Style Banquet. Toby used his grandfather's semi van trailer for the movie screen and his other grandfather's flat bed trailer for our stage. He asked his dad and some community friends to borrow some audio video equipment and the rest is history!

The 2020 Annual Taylorville FFA Banquet was the best in the history of the program because of Toby Winans! His work on the banquet was incredible and it was an amazing night that was very uplifting for our community. The 2020 banquet will be one I never forget! If you have any questions I would be glad to fill you in on this amazing kid.
Thanks for your time.
Sue Schafer
Taylorville FFA Advisor"

Toby loves agriculture, and it is this life that he has grown up around.  However, he has natural talent and a passion for technology.  So, his talents will direct him towards supporting farmers rather than being one himself.  His talent was recognized early on, and he has been fixing computers, printers, and everything else technology-wise at his school since his freshman year.  They even created a position for his particular talents, and he is the chapter's vice president in charge of chapter technology.

Toby now has his own drone business.  He is using his love of both hardware and software to help farmers be more successful.  He scouts fields for his customers with his drone and the use of the "Drone Deploy" software.  He sees a future for himself in agriculture with this being his role.

Toby is the epitome of the student that the National FFA was thinking of when they changed their name.  Amazing students like this are what drives everyone in every aspect of the FFA, and what drives me to conduct so many of these interviews every year.