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Award-Winning FFA Alum Advocates for Dairy Daily

By Brian Kavanagh

It was an achievement that brought his grandfather to tears.

Agueda is a third-generation dairy farmer studying agricultural business at Modesto Junior College in California while he works at Alberto Dairy, the family dairy he grew up on. The dairy is a supplier of Nestlé’s CARNATION® facility in Modesto. With 2,400 milking Holsteins, Agueda oversees several day-to-day operations, including feeding and rationing; working with the dairy’s nutritionist; managing vaccinations; leading the human resource department; and ensuring compliance with all safety standards. However, none of this would be possible if Agueda’s grandfather, a Portuguese immigrant, had not started Alberto Dairy generations ago.

Agueda attributes most of his success to his involvement in FFA. He is an alumnus of the Hughson FFA chapter.

“If it wasn’t for FFA, I truly would not be pursuing what I am today,” he said. The first time he walked into his freshmen agricultural biology class, he saw a new side to agriculture that he didn’t know existed. Community, camaraderie and innovation inspired Agueda to return to the family dairy later in life. Equipped with the ability to speak in public, network with like-minded individuals, and connect with a larger community on social media, he was ready to tackle anything the ever-changing dairy industry could throw at him.

Agueda spent much of his time during the pandemic doing his part to promote agricultural advocacy, especially in the classroom. He single-handedly created and managed a social media presence for Alberto Dairy that included “life on a dairy” moments, dispelling common myths and misconceptions about dairy practices. The California Milk Advisory Board asked him to join their team, and he became the youngest team member in history at 15 years old. When the world shut down in 2020, Agueda helped teach virtual classes to thousands of students nationwide in partnership with Mobile Dairy Classroom and the Dairy Council of California. During these sessions, participants learned the anatomy of a cow and live-streamed into Alberto Dairy to see how cows are milked, calves are fed, and the commodities used in total mixed rationing.

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