For some, the North Dakota FFA State Convention is a place where you can catch up with an old friend, but for the Axts it can serve as a place for a family reunion.
Michael Axt started his career as an agriculture educator in 1978, and he instilled the love of agriculture in his children at an early age. Due to that passion for the agriculture industry, two of his children opted to follow in his footsteps, both becoming agriculture education teachers. Just like their father.
“My dad chose to go back to the farm and ranch while I was in school. He was always teaching us about agriculture. We had bottle calves, we were working in the fields, and I just really enjoyed that agricultural life that I was living,” Carissa Axt said. “Dad was always super encouraging about being involved in FFA and trying new things in FFA.”
Carissa Axt is an ag educator at Wilton Public Schools. Her brother, Dave Axt, is the ag educator at Bismarck Public Schools. Like his sister, Dave contributes his childhood on the farm to choosing the career path he did.
“Being immersed in the agriculture industry as a kid, working alongside my dad every single day and also later having an ag teacher come, showed me that there is a lot more to the ag class than what I thought. I learned that there was so much more to it,” Dave Axt said.
Michael Axt graduated from NDSU in 1978 with a plan to teach for a couple years, then go work on his family farm full-time. It almost went according to plan.
“I taught from 1978-1981, then went home and I was farming for 27 years. Then the ag teacher position in town where I had started came open and they couldn’t find anybody and they talked me into coming and helping them,” Michael Axt said. “That was in 2008 for a semester and I said ‘OK, I'll do it.’ And I am still here.”
All three members of the Axt family were FFA members and enrolled in ag education classes. They know firsthand the importance FFA and ag literacy have on young people.
“Learning that agriculture is such a large part of our nation's industry and economy is very important for kids to understand that it's not just farmers and ranchers anymore. It's scientists, economists and it's so much more than just ranching and farming,” Carissa Axt said.
The trio also enjoys collaborating and bouncing ideas off of one another. Their chapters enjoy catching up as well when at events, such as state conventions.
“It’s amusing to our students, because they’re always interested and like, ‘When are we gonna see your dad?' or 'Are we gonna hang out with your sister’s chapter?’” Dave Axt said.
Michael Axt also enjoys seeing his children at FFA events and competitions held throughout the year.
“We see each other at the winter CDEs and our FFA activities,” Michael Axt said. “It’s fun.”