Nearly 25,000 students from across Oklahoma are in the Future Farmers of America program.
Students in one chapter got a special visit from a nationally and internationally known agriculture broadcaster and public speaker Wednesday.
One of Oklahoma's own motivated him to visit Owasso and create a new award in her honor.
Trent Loos broadcasted his daily radio show, heard across the Great Plains, from Owasso's FFA chapter Wednesday. He produces a daily segment airing on 100 stations nationwide.
It turns out, Loos was visiting these students because of an impression an Owasso student made on him and his listeners at last years' state FFA convention.
That student is Piper Merritt.
While researching antibiotic use in animals for a speech last year, Merritt called Loos as a source.
A big part of FFA is public speaking and learning about and being able to articulate important issues in agriculture.
"We really push the public speaking and leadership activities here in Owasso in our FFA program. We feel like that's very important," said Owasso's FFA Advisor Jonathan Holloway.
At the state FFA convention, Loos put Merritt on the spot to deliver her speech on air for his listeners.
"He was like, ‘Hi, would you like to be on my radio show?' So, it was a surprise to me, but it was really fun," Merritt said.
Loos and his listeners across the country were so impressed, he promised to visit the chapter and he presented Merritt with a newly created award.
"She launched into that presentation that she gave with a tremendous degree of confidence," Loos said.
Merritt was awarded a certificate and a young female pig, which she'll show this year, with the promise of breeding it and giving one of its babies to another FFA student to show next year.
"It can be from our chapter or it can be for anyone else in Oklahoma," Merritt said.
Loos challenged students to be informed about issues and to do a better job of making sure others know the facts about agriculture.
"I try to inspire them that one person makes a difference," Loos said.
Merritt said she is thrilled with the honor and the opportunities she's getting.
"You want to fulfill your passion, and I feel like I'm doing the right thing in going this way, and feel God has really blessed me in allowing me to do this," Merritt said.
Loos is also a sought after public speaker, who has engagements in about 35 states and several foreign countries each year.
For full disclosure, my son Jackson is in the Owasso FFA program. He was the really handsome young man in the blue shirt.