OTHELLO — Fourth District Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, was one of the featured speakers at the Othello FFA awards banquet on Friday, May 24. Other speakers were Othello businessman Larry Kent and Zach Schilter, the 2018-2019 Washington FFA Sentinel. Kent was the first speaker of the evening. He reminisced about his days at Othello High School, saying he remembered when the old high school was bulldozed into what is now the football field.
“And they wonder why the football field keeps sinking,” Kent joked.
He also said how impressed he was with the 2018-2019 FFA officers. Newhouse spoke after Kent. Newhouse had flown-in earlier that day from Washington D.C. and commented on how beautiful Washington is.
“It is beautiful because of agriculture,” said Newhouse.
Newhouse highlighted his lifelong connection to agriculture. He is an alumnus of the Sunnyside FFA chapter and although he graduated in 1973, his FFA coat still fits him.
“Students learn a lot more than when I was in high school,” Newhouse said. “What’s most important is finding confidence in yourself.”
After high school, Newhouse attended Washington State University, where he majored in agricultural economics.
“People in agriculture have a common bond,” said Newhouse. “They understand each other’s language.”
Newhouse highlighted the importance of representing agriculture.
“There are only 15 farmers and ranchers in the U.S. legislature,” Newhouse said. “Whether you are going to be involved in production agriculture or another aspect, such as communication or sales, it is important to be able to represent agriculture to people. We need to continue to put food on the nation’s plate. It is important for the industry to continue strong.”
He also challenged the FFA members to make the most of the opportunities available to them.
“Learn as much as you can,” said Newhouse. “There are a lot of opportunities afforded you. Selflessly help your community.”
Newhouse closed by expressing his delight in being at the FFA awards banquet.
“I am delighted to be here tonight,” Newhouse said. “It is a pleasure for me. It has been a long time since I’ve been at an awards banquet. I am delighted to see young people coming up to take our positions.”
Schilter was the final speaker for the evening.
“We are here to celebrate great achievement,” Schiltler said. “We are here to celebrate great moments. The opportunities are there for you. You have to look at the opportunities and be able to turn them into great moments.”
He challenged the FFA members to continue growing as they go through life.
“Don’t fear failure,” said Schiltler. “Fear being in the same place as you are today.”
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.