The return of the National FFA convention to Indiana was a great success, but how long can it stay here? The convention, which ended on Saturday, drew over 65,000 FA members, guests, and advisors to the Circle City. By all accounts, there were no major incidents or logistical problems. Even parking, which had been a concern, was not an issue. Indiana Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb made it clear that he wants the FFA convention to stay in the Hoosier State, “We are going to do everything we can to keep them here for the next 9 years and beyond.”
Indiana State Department of Agriculture director Ted McKinney says plans are already being made to keep the convention here after its current run, “They will begin the bid process next year for the convention beginning in 2025, and we plan to make a strong bid.” But, McKinney admits there is a problem.
The FFA convention continues to grow, and is expected to reach 66,000 and more over the next few years. And, there is a limit to what Indianapolis can handle according to McKinney. “I think if we reach 70,000 plus we will be reaching the outer boundaries of what Indianapolis can handle,” he stated.
But if the convention gets too big, where could it go? There are few if any cities that can handle such a large gathering. Thus, it may require FFA to begin to limit attendance at the convention in order to keep it manageable and to keep it in Indiana. Moving the youth convention out of the Midwest would be difficult since the vast majority of those who attend drive to the event. Sending large numbers of high school students to Orlando, Los Vegas, or New York would be prohibitively difficult and expensive. Holcomb told HAT that Indianapolis is the perfect place for the convention.