LINCOLN, Neb. – Agriculture is a passion and profession for two Curtis residents who are known in high school and collegiate classrooms, show rings and wherever ones finds FFA and 4-H youth gathered.
Doug and Tina Smith were jointly honored at the 2017 Nebraska FFA Convention with an Honorary FFA State Degree. The degrees were awarded to 13 couples or entities and four chapter advisors in a ceremony on April 6.
The Curtis duo are known professionally as “Dr. and Mrs. Smith” with the University of Nebraska’s only all-agriculture campus, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.
There, Mrs. Smith heads the NCTA admissions and recruiting program while Dr. Smith is the chairman of the animal science and agricultural education division, and coaches the Aggie Livestock Judging Team.
Both are native Texans, with degrees in agriculture and animal science from Sam Houston State University. Dr. Smith studied agricultural education at Texas A&M University where he earned his doctoral degree.
With Dr. Smith’s hiring at NCTA in 2011, they continued as Aggies, this time as NCTA Aggies, and became “almost” full-fledged Huskers.
“It is both an honor and a privilege to work with the FFA youth of Nebraska,” Tina Smith said this week. “It was a very humbling experience to be honored for something that is so natural, and always a passion for us.”
Tina has represented NCTA as a college recruiter and volunteer at many state and national FFA events, including serving as a contest judge at the 2016 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.
Their son, Tristin, is a sophomore at Medicine Valley High School in Curtis and, as one might predict, is highly involved with MVHS FFA, Frontier County 4-H, academics and high school athletics.
As a family, Smiths have been volunteers and leaders for many youth-related educational programs, judging contests and college activities, including Nebraska FFA regional and state contests, Nebraska State Fair, Nebraska Cattleman’s Classic, and Frontier County Extension programs.
“Doug and Tina Smith are a superstar couple making a significant impact by helping youth interested in careers with Nebraska’s agricultural industries,” said NCTA Dean Ron Rosati. “The creativity, leadership, energy and intelligence they demonstrate on a regular basis is truly impressive. I appreciate the work they do at NCTA and throughout the state.”
Since taking the reins of the NCTA agricultural education program, Dr. Smith has been advisor to 10 Aggies who have graduated from NCTA – three now FFA advisors and teachers, and seven finalizing their bachelor’s degrees. He also has instructed and advised dozens of students in animal science and veterinary medicine.
Last year, NCTA was named the Top Post-Secondary Agriculture Education Program by the Nebraska Agricultural Educators Association. Dr. Smith also is a Professor of Practice with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Agricultural, Leadership, Education and Communications department.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the FFA,” Smith said. “We enjoy teaching and guiding young people into agricultural-related careers. It is our passion and the motivation for what we do every day. We have been blessed in so many ways.”