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Small-town FFA alum follows passion to successful career | Ag News






Cass (Pfeiffer) Newell is photographed with her husband, Dalton, and daughter, Nella. (Image courtesy.)


The Mulhall-Orlando FFA chapter has a long and proud tradition of success in a variety of competitions, but perhaps the most important contribution is the success it has had in its graduates after graduating from its activities.

This small rural community produced statewide congressmen, bank presidents, successful businessmen, and leaders from various agricultural fields. One of our most recent graduates has made waves in the livestock industry with her outstanding leadership.

Cass Newell is currently serving as Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Youth Fair, but her journey began on the family’s farm outside the small town of Orlando, Oklahoma. Growing up in Orlando got Newell involved in many farming activities even before joining the FFA. Her family has a strong farming background which led her to want her to be in the FFA more than anything else.

“I still remember the day I received the FFA jacket, I was so excited,” she says. The FFA had many activities in which it was involved including livestock arbitration, livestock presentation, and giving speeches. After completing high school, Newell used the knowledge gained through the FFA to earn a Livestock Arbitration Scholarship for Redlands Community College and eventually Oklahoma State University where she not only earned her master’s degree, but was also an All-American Livestock Arbitrator and a member of the National Team Meat Champion Animal Rating.

Newell credits the FFA for providing the foundation for her success. “Lessons learned from FFA activities paved the way for me in many aspects of life and as a student. I learned leadership skills, communication, communication, respect, time management and much more. Besides lessons learned, friendships gained are irreplaceable. Most of the contacts gained through FFA are still people I relate to them today.”

Several former FFA members can relate to this experience. The FFA’s unique learning model based on three core areas has provided effective didactic education since its inception in 1928. This combination of classroom teaching, supervised agricultural experience programs, and FFA student organization activities and competitions strongly influenced Newell to pursue it. A career that would allow her to influence other young students and their agricultural experiences.

Newell had several SAE projects while at FFA and competed in many activities at all levels. She raised, sold and displayed Angus cattle and goats. She also participated in public speaking competitions and livestock arbitration. Her activities and activities were areas of cultivation that she was passionate about. She recommends that if a student is researching SAE today, they should find “SAE you’re passionate about” because “without passion, the project wouldn’t be meaningful.” For parents new to FFAs and SAEs, she feels it is important to “not feel overwhelmed.” Her advice to parents with a new FFA member is to “find out what’s going on with the class and connect with their FFA advisor.” Newell believes that parents should be supportive of their students, no matter what field of FFA they wish to participate in.

Newell showed cattle across the country, but some of the show’s most fondest moments occurred at the Oklahoma Youth Fair. Now she’s back full circle, from a little girl with wide eyes walking down the slope with her first wheel to being behind the scenes in charge of the show. Serving as Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Youth Fair allows her to interact with and provide opportunities for many of the FIFA’s members throughout the state.

One of its greatest joys is being able to watch the students who have worked so hard all year, and then see their hard work pay off in the ring. “Standing on Grand Drive and watching the students reach their goals gives me goosebumps every time.”

From a small Oklahoma town girl with a passion for farming to the successful CEO of the world’s largest junior livestock show, some would say Newell led a charming life. But it is this passion that has driven her to set an example for other FFA members to follow and continues to drive her to make an impact in farming today. Mulhall-Orlando FFA is proud to call Newell on its alumni roster and is excited to see how her impact will impact the next generation of FFA leaders in Oklahoma.

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