Learning to Do, Doing to Learn

These words are part of the FFA motto and continue to resonate with me to this day. I’m Katie Reames from Culpeper, Virginia and I would like to invite you on this journey with me as I put these words into action.

I grew up in Stephens City, Virginia where I quickly found my way to my neighbor’s farm. They have a diversified operation and over the years have raised dairy and beef cattle and hogs as well as grown a variety of produce including apples, peaches, tomatoes, beans, watermelons, and much more. They saw great potential in the produce and eventually established their own farmers market that is still in operation. I fell in love with agriculture from my first exposure to the farm and I still carry that passion today. In middle and high school I continued to work on my neighbor’s farm while being very active in FFA. FFA allowed me to combine my passion for agriculture and expose others around me to this amazing industry as well.

Circa 1999 with two of my agriculture teachers.

My passion for agriculture led me to major in Dairy Science at Virginia Tech. I was actively involved in the Dairy Club and competed on the Dairy Judging Team and Dairy Challenge Team. During my studies at Tech I once again found the words of the FFA motto inspiring me to learn more and more and put that knowledge into action. I grew up seeing firsthand how hard producers work to provide safe and nutritious products for consumers and wanted to do my part to help them be successful. Upon graduating in 2003 my first stop was Watertown, New York where I went to work as a nutritionist to help producers be able to meet their production and financial goals. I got to experience a whole different culture and mindset of producers. However, I couldn’t find any sweet tea so I decided to head back south. In 2004 I started working for Rockingham Mill doing nutrition as well.

American Dairy Science Association Meeting 2002

In 2006 my husband, Will, and I were married and I moved to Orange, Virginia. After a year of a long commute I left Rockingham to be an Agriculture Educator in Culpeper. I loved being able to open students’ and adults’ eyes to the world of agriculture. During my tenure I felt the need to continue my learning and earned my Master’s Degree in Career and Technical Education shortly after the birth of my son. While Culpeper is a rural community, most students do not come from a farm and agricultural background. It was rewarding to see my students accomplish their goals and find their passions as well. One of the things I hope I was able to instill in my students is that if you are passionate about something you need to be actively involved, which lead me to become involved with the Virginia Association of Agriculture Educators and eventually serving as President.

Our family

In 2016 I decided to go back to my roots and do nutrition for CFC Farm and Home Center. In my current role as Director of Nutrition, Sales, and Marketing I do the feed formulation and nutrition, oversee our field sales staff, grain marketing, and oversee our marketing staff. I greatly enjoy the variety of my position and the wonderful people I get to work with every day as well as the producers.

CFC Farm & Home Center

My husband, son, and I also own a small commercial cow calf operation. Our son has been actively involved in our operation since conception and I am proud to say shares our love for agriculture! I greatly enjoy watching him learning and doing so much on our operation. This year he got to show his first heifer in the big kid class and was beyond excited! I am more excited to see where his passion takes him in this world.

First Big Kid Show

I am a firm believer that if you want to change or preserve something you need to be involved. This has led me to be involved in Farm Bureau. Through my involvement with Farm Bureau I became concerned about the future of agriculture in Culpeper which most recently led me to serve on the Planning Commission for Culpeper County.

As I started out Learning to Do, Doing to Learn has led me to be part of the VALOR program. I hope that you will join my fellows and I on our journey as we learn more about agriculture to be able to do? more for our communities, state, and nation!

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