BAILEY BUCHANON, 17, of Lake Gibson FFA, was recently selected to represent the Polk County cattle industry as Polk County Cattlemen’s Sweetheart with hopes of being named the Florida Cattlemen’s Sweetheart in June! Bailey’s father has been a member of the Polk County Cattlemen’s Association for years, and her mother is a member of the Polk County Cattlewomen as well.
Bailey found a love for agriculture at a very young age; she was raised around it from the time she was born. She has been an active member in Florida FFA since the sixth grade. She has been involved in many key roles, such as secretary, sentinel, and vice president for her FFA chapter, and she currently serves as the Polk County FFA Federation secretary. Bailey has participated in almost every career development event (CDE) possible from middle school to high school. She has done livestock judging every year, horse judging, citrus judging, forestry, vet tech — and the list literally goes on and on. Bailey and her younger sister Blair have also shown cattle since middle school.
When asked how being an FFA member has helped her with her application process for the Sweetheart title, she explains that through the three circle model — FFA, supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs), and ag in the classroom — she was able to expand her knowledge of the cattle industry.
Her SAE projects were working with show cows (who she named Rita, Annie, and Annabelle). As a member of the Lake Gibson FFA livestock judging team and through learning about cattle breeds in the classroom, she was able to gather information to help her study for the written exam — a qualifying test to be a finalist for Polk County Sweetheart.
When she is not wearing her blue and gold attire, she will be proudly wearing her leather sash over her shoulder. You can see her at any upcoming rodeo riding her horse and carrying a flag or at any agriculture event here in Polk County. After graduation in June, she plans to attend Hillsborough Community College, then transfer to University of Florida’s Plant City campus and major in Agriculture Education.
Bailey is known for her love for agriculture, her willingness to help anyone and everyone, and her great personality, which are all characteristics of a perfect Southern SWEETHEART! As always, remember to thank a farmer!
article by ABBY CRAWFORD
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Abby is the president of the Haines City High School FFA chapter as well as the voice behind 97 Country’s segment, “Ag Time with Abby,” which airs the first Friday of every month during the Breakfast Club with Roger and Melissa. Abby is also the 2014 Polk County Farm Bureau Youth Speech Contest Winner. For questions, FFA news, or FFA story ideas, email Abby at email@example.com.