Lance Miller was raised on a diversified livestock farm near Pipestone, Minn., where he had the opportunity to show sheep, shorthorn cattle and market hogs in 4-H.
“I’ve got an older sister, three years ahead of me, she was doing FFA things.” Miller was intrigued by hearing all about his sister’s experiences in FFA. “Most of the youth from 4-H participated in FFA. It was a natural progression for me.” The Pipestone chapter had around 80 members at the time.
While in high school, Miller was the Region Four president. “I naturally gravitated toward leadership roles and activities.” Miller remembers the competition for the Region Four president position was fierce. “I was very fortunate to be elected to regional president.”
Stephanie Yonker, who went onto serve as a state FFA secretary, was regional vice president at that same time. For Miller, once he was elected to that position, it really solidified his interest to run for a state office.
The election process for state office wasn’t too bad for Miller. “For me, sitting down chatting with a couple of people is comfortable. Larger groups do kind of unnerve me a lot.” The interview process consisted of talking to a group of eight to 10 people, the perfect size for Miller. “I’m comfortable thinking on my feet.”
When it was announced that Miller was state president, he was shocked. “I was the last officer to be named.”
Looking back at his time as state president, Miller remembers the triumphs of working alongside such a strong group of leaders. “I don’t recall much struggles, the team was a really good team to work with. I think our team was a neat combination of talent and personalities.”
Miller was at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul campus while serving at state FFA president. Having that position in FFA while in his first year of college wasn’t always easy. “It was a balancing act. There is the balance of college life and being a state officer and those commitments you made.”
FFA offered Miller the ability to become part of a solid ag organization and obtain leadership qualities that he has carried with him to this day. “It’s a great foundation. I’m truly blessed to be in the ag industry my whole life.”
After getting his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, Miller went on to receive his master’s degree from the U of M as well in ruminant nutrition. He then moved to Wyoming where he taught at the University of Wyoming and had the opportunity to coach the livestock judging team as well for 12 years. He is now with Purina Animal Nutrition as a sales specialist covering the state of Wisconsin.
Today, Miller and his wife Lori, along with children Liam and Layla, reside in Edgar, Wis.
His advice to FFA members today as they decide whether to run for a state office? “Just do it. If you’re debating about it, run.” Miller’s appreciative that he did.