With each class taken, each event judged and each project completed, thousands of students are writing their own story of success through the Texas FFA. “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together,” says painter Vincent Van Gogh. It is the continual investment in small things that result in large dividends.
Showing animals or learning to weld might seem trivial to those who have never worn the blue jacket; but ask the 123,000 students committed to the Texas FFA each year and you will hear 123,000 growth stories. Technical skills, drivenness to lead, responsibility to accurate record keeping and commitment to the creed are imprinted within each member.
One such growth story begins in Henrietta, Texas during the summer of 1976 when Jeff Pierce arrived home from Texas Tech to start his own business. The average price of a gallon of gas was $0.59 and the average cost of a new house was $43,000*. Those prices may seem cheap, but Jeff was on a PB&J budget.
Jeff grew up watching his dad, George Pierce, start a series of small ventures and he wanted the same independence. Also, his four years of training through the Henrietta FFA prepared him with the skills to write his entrepreneurial story.
“The FFA helped me open the doors to Pierce Sales,” says Jeff. “I didn’t have the money to pay someone to build an office, apartment, and warehouse. So, I did it myself."
Despite the summer heat, Jeff worked diligently. "The FFA taught me how to weld, wire and use a cutting torch so I knew I could build my office," Jeff continues. Without a lot of income to purchase inventory, Jeff scoured the newspaper for consignment goods. He would watch listings that hadn't moved quickly and would offer his prime HWY 287 location and help sell anything from boats, motorcycles - basically anything with a motor. It took months to start seeing success. Slowly but surely he started to gain traction. His most successful investment was adding winches to the product line. The winches took off immediately and he decided to close the consignment goods and add trailers, steel, and more.
In forty-two years, PIERCE has grown into a winch, ranch equipment, outdoor accessories, and control manufacturer. PIERCE is also the US distributor for the UK-based wireless remote control brand, Lodar. The office has grown, but the heart of the building is Jeff’s welded structure.
For Jeff and the 123,000 other members, the impact of the Texas FFA is personal and professional. “The FFA gives you a livelihood,” Jeff concludes. “Skills you can use for the rest of your life. That’s why we support the Texas FFA and believe in the future of agriculture. Without the FFA I’d never have the tools or confidence to grow my own business.”
Happy FFA week. We are proud to support you!