To kick off National FFA Week, over 80 members of Indiana FFA arrived downtown Indianapolis this morning to participate in the 2016 Page Day at the Statehouse. Every year, this all-day event provides the members a unique opportunity to interact with their elected leaders while experiencing a full day of legislative activity. “This is a very exciting day for Indiana FFA, and everyone that participates always walks away with something, whether that is a greater knowledge of the legislative process or more interest in state government,” said Tamara Neighbors, Indiana FFA Association Director. “In agricultural education, the best practice for learning is a hands-on approach. We know we gave them that opportunity today at the Statehouse.”
Their experience started with a grand tour of the limestone building, which included the House and Senate chambers, the Indiana Supreme Court and the Lt. Governor’s office, to list a few. After the tour, the participants had lunch with Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director, Ted McKinney, and representatives from the Indiana Soybean Alliance, who discussed how Indiana FFA and civic engagement impact the future of agriculture in the state.
“As the future leaders of this vital industry, it’s important to stay informed, get involved and understand that your voice matters,” McKinney said, as he addressed the members. “Undoubtedly, one of the main reasons why Indiana is a leader in agriculture is because we continue to work together as an industry and hold onto those Hoosier values that truly set us apart.”
One of the highlights of the day was a joint resolution ceremony, championed by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) and State Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston), honoring Indiana FFA and its membership. The seven Indiana FFA state officers were on-hand to receive the resolution on behalf of the association.
“I was honored to represent 11,500 Indiana FFA members today in front of the Legislature,” said Josh Calhoun, Indiana FFA State Sentinel. “It means a lot to the future of the association, as well as the industry in general, that our state senators and representatives stand behind us. This was a great start to celebrating National FFA Week.”
Following the ceremony, the pages were able to have their picture taken in the House and Senate chambers with their prospective representative. They were also able to help legislative staff members with a wide range of activities while being able to observe the rest of the legislative proceedings.
“As an FFA page today, it gave me the great opportunity to witness how agriculture and education is being addressed at the state level, as well as that impact it could have on everyone involved. Overall, it was an amazing experience,” said Mallory Minnick, Lewis Cass FFA.