January 24, 2007

Growing Up in the FFA

National Western Stock Show

I grew up on a registered Charolais cattle operation in southwest Missouri, “God’s Country”, as I like to call it. I showed cattle at many state and national cattle shows across the country throughout my high school and college years. My family and I raised the number two show heifer of the year in the Charolais breed and in 2000 we bred and raised the Reserve Grand Champion Heifer at the Charolais Junior Nationals. [Larger Photo Here]

I was also active in many ag youth organizations, but the organization that made the biggest difference in my life was the National FFA Organization.

I joined the FFA when I was a freshman in high school at Mountain Grove. My first Ag Science 1 class opened my eyes to the ag industry and to the world of leadership opportunities that the FFA made possible.

Missouri State FFA Officer Team 00-01

I was highly involved in the FFA throughout high school and college. It was through the organization that I traveled overseas to Australia for two months, attended the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington D.C., won state and national FFA Proficiencies awards, became a 2000 – 2001 Missouri State FFA Officer, was awarded college scholarships to further my education in agriculture and learned what it meant to be a leader and how to motivate and lead others. [Missouri State FFA Officer Team: Larger Photo Here]

Looking back throughout my FFA career though, it wasn’t the awards or the travel experiences that made the biggest impact on my life. It was the people. The friends I made and the professional contacts I gained are what have made me the person I am today.

Being a state FFA officer I had the opportunity to meet some incredible people across Missouri. The students that I met, the FFA instructors that I helped out with leadership programs and the other state officers on my team that year were the huge influences on the person I am today. My teammates became like a family. Although that was about seven years ago that I was a state FFA officer, many of those teammates are still very close friends.

One such friend and past office teammate is Molly (Kaimann) Schneider. Molly is now married and has some lovely daughters with her husband Josh. She loves to cook as we all do and sent me a very hearty recipe that her mother always makes. I know you will enjoy it.

Thanks Molly!

Rice Soup
By Molly Schneider

In a large pot boil beef soup bones and a few healthy shakes from the salt shaker (we prefer short ribs because they are full of flavor and meat) for several hours on the stove.

Boil until meat is cooked. Remove bones and remove meat from the bones. While removing meat from bones add 2-3 hand-fulls of rice (not the minute kind) to the pot to begin cooking.

Add meat back to soup, not the bones.

When rice has cooked and is finished, add tomato juice. We use home canned juice, but store bought will work. (1-2 quarts for a large pot.) You can always add more if you want more of a tomato flavor.

Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour or longer.

Best served with cheese and saltine crackers or homemade rolls.

It is even better the days after because it gets a little thicker. It the soup gets too thick just add more tomato juice.

I know this recipe is full of approx., but you really can't mess it up. Add as little or much as you like of the meat, rice and tomato juice.

Molly’s Note: My mom usually puts the bones on to begin cooking around noon to 1:00 and we eat around 6:30. The soup is never turned off, adjust the heat from high when boiling to low when simmering. This is my favorite. It can feed lots of people and fill them up because of the rice. My grandma made it a lot when her 11 children were home. It went far with little cost.

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