Current Foundation board president Heather Rayner came to the FFA through a circuitous route. The youngest of four girls, Heather and her parents left their hometown of Seattle and moved to Central Point, Oregon in the summer of 1982. Attending Scenic Junior High School in the fall she signed up for the animal science class due to her love of animals. After a month Heather thought she was told that she needed to pay a class fee to continue the course. Upon giving the money to the animal science teacher and FFA advisor, Mr. Stauffer, she was told welcome to the FFA!
She went on to continue in the FFA at Crater High School where she served as a chapter officer and showed sheep, hogs and competed in her chapter’s parliamentary procedure team. With a strong love of agriculture she attended Oregon State University graduating with a degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics and a degree in Journalism. Heather moved to Arizona in 1982, eventually getting her dream job as editor of the Arizona Farmer Ranchman magazine. At 24 she was the youngest woman agricultural editor in the country and one of the few women as well in that position.
Her next job was for Salt River Project in media relations and communications. After marrying Ron Rayner, she worked in the family farm office of A Tumbling T Ranches and became a partner in the family business. It was at that time she was approached to serve on the Foundation board.
“I was raised to give back to my community in whatever form that took,” Heather says. “I also am married to an extraordinarily giving man who has exemplified that in his own life. I took this opportunity to give back to the FFA because I believe in the opportunities it gives our youth. I also feel strongly that the more our young people are exposed to agriculture they will be its advocates in whatever career path they take.”
Other organizations she belongs to include serving as treasurer of the Agua Fria Foundation, a foundation that gives grants to teachers in the Agua Fria Unified School District; a past book sale chair and past president of VNSA, which holds the Southwest’s largest used book sale in February; and a founding member of the West Valley branch of the American Association of University Women; and a lifetime member of Community of Christ.
Thank you, Heather, for your continued support and dedication to the Arizona FFA Members and Foundation! We greatly value your leadership, compassion, and generosity.