Moses Lake teen named statewide FFA treasurer

For the Basin Business Journal | August 18, 2020 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake native Alissa Whitaker has been elected Future Farmers of America’s new statewide treasurer for 2020-21.

Whitaker is one of six young people tapped to head the statewide organization this year — five of whom are from Eastern Washington.

“I started FFA in ninth grade,” the recent Moses Lake High School graduate said. “I took an ag physical science class because a friend was involved, but I’ve been in 4-H since fourth grade showing.”

Unusually for an FFA student, Whitaker did not grow up on a farm. Rather, she visited one owned by her grandparents, where she would help with harvests and raise the pigs and beef cattle she would later show.

Also elected this year were Cole Baerlocher of Colfax as president, Lauren Stubbs of LaCrosse as vice president, Gunnar Aune of Colfax as secretary, Haley Gilman of Eastmont as reporter and Tyson White of Finley as sentinel, the title FFA gives to the person who helps keep order during meetings.

Whitaker said much of being a state officer for FFA means traveling around the state talking at schools and fairs and meeting with state legislators next winter during the 2021 legislative session — something the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to a halt.

“This year is unique. Normally we would travel and see fairs, but that’s not happening this year,” she said. “I’m still hoping to do workshops at school.”

“If we can’t travel, some of it will be done virtually,” she said.

Whitaker said FFA has taught her a number of things — leadership, the value of hard work, the ability to recover from failure, and being very purposeful in all that she does.

“There’s a lot of prep beforehand, so much,” she said. “It’s like the old saying, ‘the show is won at home.’”

This is especially true when a small girl needs to learn to command a large animal, like a pig or a steer, and make sure it obeys, Whitaker said.

“They can be gentle giants,” she said.

In the area of leadership, Whitaker said FFA has taught her how to speak in public, especially in business and professional settings, and has given her the ability to connect to people as well as see their potential while striving to improve her own.

“It’s that growth mindset,” she said.

As for future plans, Whitaker said she intends to study agricultural education, though she still hasn’t decided between Washington State University, the University of Idaho or Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

“We’ll see what doors open up,” she said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at