Future Farmers: Learning to lead

Mattson Thompson

Being the historian in the Shelley High School FFA chapter led Mattson Thompson to run for an office in the South Upper Snake River FFA District.

Thompson, 16, who is a junior, is now district secretary.

“I love FFA, and enjoy being an officer for my school but I wanted to go bigger,” Thompson said.

He’s learned leadership, organizational and negotiating skills in FFA. He was in horse 4-H for eight years and during that time, was a 4-H junior leader for two years.

“I like the leadership qualities FFA teaches plus working with others and making compromises to work out problems,” Thompson said. “One of the things we do is complete record books online and if you’re not responsible and don’t complete them, there are consequences.”

The son of Shelley-area ranchers Matt and Jayme Thompson grew up helping out on the ranch, moving pipe, hauling hay, calving, branding and vaccinating. He’s applied that hands-on knowledge to his FFA supervised educational experience of starting a herd of cattle. So far, he has eight head of first-calf Hereford heifers and has his own Idaho livestock brand registered in his name.

“I run my cattle with my parent’s herd and my dad thought it would be a good idea to have Herefords so they’d stand out from the Black Angus they raise so I’d be able to keep track of them better,” he said.

He saves the money he makes from selling his cattle for FFA trips and college. So far, he’s undecided about a major, but his interests are many and include, ranching, landscape design, interior design, architecture or even being an electrical lineman. In his spare time, he exercises in CrossFit classes.

To be featured in Future Farmers, email Farm & Ranch Managing Editor Bill Bradshaw at freditor@postregister.com.