Cassopolis student promoted to FFA’s regional vice president

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cameron Hayden, a senior at Ross Beatty High School, has been named region 1 vice president. (Submitted photo)

Cameron Hayden, a senior at Ross Beatty High School, has been named region 1 vice president. (Submitted photo)

Cameron Hayden’s passion for farming was born while he was still in diapers.

Growing up on the cattle farm that has been owned by his family for generations, the Cassopolis native has spent his entire life helping his family rear livestock.

As he grew older, Hayden extended his love for agriculture outside the family ranch, joining the National FFA Organization in seventh-grade.

Hayden quickly climbed the ranks of the agricultural-education organization, becoming the president of his local chapter as well becoming regional vice president. He’s even received the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for the organization’s national conference, he said.

“[FFA] combines my passion for agriculture and leadership,” Hayden said. “It allows me to meet new people with similar interests as mine.”

The Ross Beatty senior will be taking his years of experience leading fellow aspiring farmers to the next level.

The Michigan FFA chapter recently announced their slate of state officers for the 2014-2015 year, naming Hayden as the region 1 vice president. The region encompasses 14 chapters across southwest Michigan, in nine counties, including Cass.

Hayden was one of 16 prospective officers that ran for state office this year, passing four rounds of interviews with a selection committee in Lansing. Hayden will being his responsibilities with the 11 other officers selected in July.

Upon receiving the news of his selection, the Cassopolis student said he was frozen with shock.

“It didn’t really set in with me at first,” Hayden said.  “Once it did, I felt really humbled and honored.”

Becoming a state officer fulfills one of the dreams Hayden has since he first joined the organization in middle school, as him and other members held state officers in high regard whenever they visited the local Cassopolis chapter.

“You always looked up to the state officers,” Hayden said. “You think they are so cool.”

In his new role, Hayden will be responsible for visiting FFA chapters throughout the state, meeting with local members and providing advice and mentorship as needed. Him and his fellow officers will also participate in workshops and conferences throughout the state, including the Michigan Ag Expo in July.

Hayden still has plenty on his plate before departing for his new position in the summer though, including preparing for the regional camp event next month, which will be held in Cassopolis.

“We’re learning first hand on how to facilitate and hold workshops with other members, sharing with them our passion for agriculture and the other traits of our organization,” Hayden said.

In addition to his extensive work with FFA, Hayden is a longtime member of the Cass County 4-H, and volunteers at the He Reigns Rescue Ranch, a Niles-based organization dedicated toward caring for neglected or abused horses.

After graduating from Ross Beatty in the spring, Hayden plans on study business education at Lansing Community College, in order to live closer to the FFA state offices. From there, Hayden said he would like to transfer to university to study agricultural science.

“When I look into the agricultural industry, the opportunities are endless,” Hayden said. “People can’t survive without the meat and crops our industry provides.”