Where Are They Now? | April 2023 | By Ashley Butler
Meet Mikyla Bagley,
Former Piute FFA member, who had the unique opportunity of being one of the ‘original’ members of the chapter, as Piute FFA was reestablished in 2013, the beginning of her Freshman year.
Being a fifth generation cattle rancher born and raised on a century farm in central Utah, Mikyla knew that after high school she wanted to stay connected to her roots, but had no idea what that would look like for her until she joined the FFA.
Mikyla says even though she grew up as a ‘traditional’ ag kid, she never planned on joining FFA.
“My older brothers talked me into it. Since we didn’t have FFA in our school until my Freshman year I didn’t really know much about it but my second-oldest brother, Tucker, was a Junior and joining and since I’d been following him around all my life, I guess FFA was no different.”
However, not knowing a lot about FFA didn’t stop Mikyla from taking advantage of the opportunities that were available. She took every chance to attend the FFA contests that her advisor took them to, with the intent of learning all she could about what the organization had to offer.
Once Mikyla learned about the Prepared Public Speaking and Discussion Meet Contests, there was no looking back. She continued to compete in these events throughout high school, both of which have played a huge impact on helping her get where she is today.
“Participating in FFA events and contests and getting involved helped me discover a world of agricultural jobs beyond production. FFA allowed me to network with agriculturalists who are contributing to the industry in financing, marketing, journalism, and many other ways and this prompted me to pursue a career where I could use my talents to advocate for the agriculture industry.”
Now, Mikyla works as IFA’s Content Specialist where she has taken on many roles such as digital marketing, social media and campaign management.
“FFA played a MAJOR role in helping me choose what degree to pursue in college as well as the career I now have and love! I knew I loved the ranch and I wanted to stay connected to that but I also loved all things reading and writing and it wasn’t until FFA that I realized I could combine my two passions.”
Knowing that she wanted to build a career that combined writing and agriculture, she selected a degree in Agribusiness and Communication at SUU. In 2020 she had the opportunity to work as the Outdoors Editor for the SUU Journal. An opportunity that she says played a large role, along with the FFA, in helping lead her to the career she has today.
Her professor encouraged each editor to make their section of their journal their own, and that’s exactly what she did! Mikyla made her focus of the ‘outdoors’ be the rural community in Cedar City. This role gave her a great deal of experience writing about the agriculture industry as she chose to focus on highlighting rural community events and happenings such as rodeos, the rural history of Cedar City, the SUU Farm and more.
“It was a great opportunity for me to get first-hand experience researching, interviewing, and brainstorming relevant topics that I could use to highlight SUU and agriculture.”
That experience paid off, as she started working for IFA 2 weeks after graduating from SUU in the spring of 2021.
Now, Mikyla spends her time in a career where no two days look the same! She spends the majority of her time writing articles for IFA’s Cooperator Magazine, reaching out to producers to schedule interviews, managing IFA’s blog and writing copy for web pages, and social media. Her favorite part of her job though? Actually visiting the producers on their operations, interviewing them and then being able to put their stories together to be published in the Cooperator.
Mikyla says that communication is truly the heart of her role with IFA, as communicating with patrons within IFA’s various markets is a big part of her job.
“I’m grateful for the experience I gained in FFA from participating in Discussion Meets and Public Speaking as I feel these opportunities helped me gain valuable skills especially when it comes to communicating on industry topics and with producers. I’m also grateful for the experiences I gained from FFA Discussion Meets as I interact with producers first-hand on their operations. I feel these events taught me how to research agriculture issues and how to communicate with ag producers more effectively by asking the right questions.”
IFA's Cooperator Magazine
When asked what advice she would give to a high school student that is thinking about joining FFA, she said,
“Do it, make the most of those opportunities, and ALWAYS thank your advisor. Whether you're interested in an agriculture career or not, FFA is an organization that can help you grow your resume and skills in a variety of areas if you just get involved.”
Mikyla says that besides the communication skills that she developed through participating in Discussion Meets and other LDE contests, which she uses everyday in her role with IFA as she communications with producers,
“FFA also helped me in less-obvious ways such as learning event planning and cooperation skills as I participated in planning chapter socials, fundraisers, and activities with my leadership teams each year. These skills have helped immensely as I work with my marketing team to coordinate events and campaigns.”
In regards to the decision Mikyla made her freshman year to join FFA, she says,
“[That decision] had a profound impact on me and my future career goals. I remember being asked in a scholarship interview why I chose agribusiness and communications as my field of study and what I would do with this degree. I automatically thought of FFA and how it was in FFA that I learned about agriculture advocacy and had felt empowered to use my talents to add my voice on agriculture topics and issues. I still believe that my involvement in FFA is the reason I uncovered a passion for agriculture advocacy and why I love opportunities to give a voice to agriculture and highlight producers in my role with IFA”