The 65,000 blue jackets that will flood the streets of Indianapolis this week will do more than just learn about agriculture, they will learn how to be advocates for agriculture. FFA was once all about farming, but today the organization spans both rural and urban cultures. National FFA President Taylor McNeel says students are studying a wide variety of subjects, “FFA has chapters in rural areas as well as in 19 of the 20 largest cities in America. All of these students are finding their passion in agriculture, but also in science, technology, engineering, and math.” She said they are all focused on developing this technology to help move FFA and agriculture forward.
McNeel told HAT that FFA is very serious about becoming an advocacy group for agriculture to the next generation of consumers, “Part of our strategic plan for the next 5 years is learning how we can tell our story of agriculture and FFA. We are equipping members to learn about agriculture, but also to go into their community and inform the public about the ways we produce food, fiber, and fuel.”
Jane Stevens, with the Indiana Soybean Alliance, says, while only a small percentage of FFA members will go back to the farm, those who do not will play a vital role the future of agriculture, “When a farmers gets in his tractor today, it looks like a space ship, and it is these kids who are figuring out all the stuff that goes inside that tractor.” Stevens says it is this technology that will allow farmers to be more productive and sustainable in the long run.
Indiana farm leaders will officially welcome the convention back to Indiana during a special luncheon today, and then things really get underway on Wednesday with the day of service.
HAT’s week long coverage of the National FFA convention is brought to you by Beck’s. Join Beck’s in saluting the National FFA and its members.