Writer: Melissa R. Rutter, 575-646-4211, email@example.com
When he’s not sporting the iconic mustache, twirling pistols, posing for pictures and spreading school spirit at sporting events as New Mexico State University’s mascot Pistol Pete, Caleb Gustin finds himself hard at work as the Leadership Coordinator of NMSU’s Future Farmers of America Association.
ince joining the New Mexico FFA, Gustin, who is double majoring in mechanical engineering and agricultural and community development, has helped to design and implement some changes within the association. But recently he decided to take on a task that was a little bigger: creating a video to promote the State FFA Officers campaign.
“Our current State FFA Officer team wanted to help strengthen agriculture through advocacy and involvement,” Gustin said. “The agricultural industry is feeding the world in responsible and innovative ways and they wanted to talk about it. My job was to create a video that informed and inspired our FFA family to help strengthen agriculture.”
The video would revolve around the phrase “Ag Strong.” Gustin said there is often a disconnect between agricultural producers and consumers and Ag Strong is designed to bridge that gap.
“As food and fiber demands have increased, the amount of people needed to produce a safe and stable food supply has decreased. Currently, 2 percent of the population involved in production agriculture feeds the remaining 98 percent. Ag Strong strives to help spark and connect the conversation about food production in a way that helps discover common ground to feed a growing world,” Gustin said.
The kicker? Gustin had little to no previous experience making videos, so he sat down and began teaching himself how to use video production software.
“After having several conversations with the New Mexico FFA State Officer team about their vision for Ag Strong. I began learning how to use Adobe Premier Pro to illustrate the vision they were hoping for,” Gustin said. We worked to gather the best footage to bring it to fruition, which included a combination of aerial and ground-based shots to properly tell the story. The majority of the footage was shot here in New Mexico with our FFA drone and an iPhone.”
Growing up, Gustin and his family raised show hogs to exhibit at the county and state fairs for 4-H, a youth organization that provides opportunities to learn life skills, gain knowledge while having fun, and make contributions in such areas as environmental education, community service, and current youth issues. In middle school, he saw FFA as another opportunity to strengthen his knowledge and experience in agriculture and leadership.
“Since first joining FFA to now double majoring, many of my successes and transformations have been facilitated by FFA. The love I have for FFA stems from the good people involved in making it great,” Gustin said. “In New Mexico, we have great agricultural educators who care about their students. We are a big family and we help each other navigate the many adventures life throws our way.”
The skills he has learned as a state and national FFA officer have taught him many important lessons and the more he travels the more Gustin sees the good FFA does.
“It teaches us responsibility and respect – skills that are sometimes lost in today’s society. The skills I gained from FFA have helped me celebrate people as mascot and stay focused as a student,” Gustin said.
How does Gustin manage to serve as Pistol Pete, complete his two degrees and work with the FFA at the same time? While it’s not an easy thing to always juggle, he takes the time to enjoy it and finds a way to take what he learns from one and applies it to another.
“My FFA job offers me the opportunity to learn and grow. One area I did not have previous experience in was graphic design. However, I started to realize graphic design software works very similarly to some software we use in engineering,” Gustin said. “This experience, combined with serving as Pistol Pete, has allowed me a chance to motivate people in different ways. I am constantly trying to learn, so combining my education, serving as Pistol Pete and working in my current job have allowed me a platform to share positive messages to unite FFA members under a common goal of serving the agriculture industry and agricultural education.”
To view the Ag Strong video visit: https://bit.ly/2PuGHMQ