After four decades, Busdieker’s enthusiasm for ag education never wavers

“Here by the owl.”

Those four words mean everything to any ag adviser. The owl symbolizes wisdom and knowledge. Taking on the role of adviser can be a daunting task to anyone, but after 42 years of service in agricultural education, Leon Busdieker makes it look easy.

A passion for agriculture and for helping kids is the force behind Busdieker’s drive.

“Whenever we are in a meeting, he always asks us ‘What’s best for the kids?,’” said Marie Davis, Northeast District supervisor. “That’s just the mind set he has for the organization.”

Davis has worked with Busdieker since 2015 but has known him since 2007 as an ag adviser.

“[He is] amazing.,” Davis said. “He is a very supportive boss. He knows your capabilities.”

Busdieker served as an agricultural education adviser for 28 years, Northeast District supervisor for five years and is now serving as the director of Agricultural Education and Missouri State FFA Adviser. This past summer, he added another item to his resume – National FFA Central Division Board of Directors. The Board of Directors serves as the governing body of the National FFA and focuses on policy for how the organization will operate and provides guidance for the CEO of National FFA.

“[It is an] honor to have be nominated,” Busdieker said.

As an adviser, one role is to provide knowledge and guidance to state officers.

“One important lesson I learned from Busdieker was to always believe in myself and the abilities I possessed,” said Baileigh Horstmeier, past Missouri State Officer. “To have the confidence in myself to make an impact on these members, like previous officers had done for me. He knew I was capable and wanted me to see that for myself!”

As the Missouri Director of Agricultural Education, Busdieker sees new chapters develop across the state every year. According to Busdieker, being a part of the chartering of new FFA chapters is the favorite part of his job.

“It’s pretty exciting to see the community come together,” Busdieker said. “At Oak Ridge, a town of only about 200 people, the whole gym was full of people for its chapter chartering. It was a neat experience.”

Busdieker also looks forward to the state officer reflections at the Missouri State FFA Convention each year. Watching the students he has worked closely with for over a year grow in their leadership skills and further their love of agriculture, always brings a smile to his face.   

“As an adviser, he was a perfect representation of the owl,” Horstmeier said. “He was down to earth and just seemed to love what he was doing and the part he played in Missouri FFA.”