Ron Hays: My Jacket Journey

Just ahead of the 2021 National Ag Day celebration, Ron Hays (Radio Oklahoma Ag Network, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) received a text invite/challenge from the Oklahoma State Secretary of Agriculture, Blayne Arthur. She asked folks involved in Oklahoma Agriculture to take part in what she called “My Jacket Journey” on Tuesday, March 23 -- National Ag Day 2021.

In response to her request, Hays offered his Jacket Journey story. The photo shows one of Hays’ FFA jackets from his days in Kentucky, and the t-shirt (thanks Kylee Deniz from the Oklahoma Pork Council) recognizes and celebrates the #EatMeatWeek proclamation of Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, which was declared for March 21-26 and included National Ag Day.

Here is Hays’ Jacket story:

“I grew up in Kentucky, the son of a vo-ag teacher early in life; but by the time I got to 9th grade, my dad had switched to junior-high science to have more time in the summer to work on our small tobacco farm. FFA and the Woodford County chapter in central Kentucky were both a cornerstone and a centerpiece in my high-school years. Along the way, I got bit by the radio bug, and God allowed me to combine the two passions of my young life — ag and radio — to become a farm broadcaster; and that journey from the blue-and-gold jacket has been a 50-year love affair.

“From being an FFA member (1966-72) and earning my American Farmer Degree, to working in radio in Kentucky (starting in 1970), then in Kansas, and since 1977 in Oklahoma, I have often intersected with the young men and ladies who wear FFA jackets. I have interviewed hundreds of them, covered events where they competed since 1974, and have been lucky to have been recognized with Honorary State and American Ag degrees and State and National FFA VIP awards. I know that, without a doubt, I have gotten far more from being around these dynamic youth than I have given. The passion and enthusiasm they have in abundance have recharged my batteries for decades.”