The 89th National FFA convention gets underway today in Indianapolis. A special welcome home event yesterday made the FFA feel right at home. We are back home again in Indiana, was the feeling FFA COO Mark Poeschi described during a luncheon sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn. Lt. Governor Eric Holcomb said Indiana is committed to keeping the convention here, “We are going to work each of the next 9 years to keep this convention in Indiana.”
But bringing the national convention back to Indiana takes a lot of money. ISDA director Ted McKinney said, while Indiana agribusinesses have stepped up and supported the FFA, it took state funding to bring the convention back, “When we pitched a 9 year stay, we knew it was going to take some new sources of funding. The governor and state lawmakers came through with some needed cash and the Lilly foundation matched that contribution.” McKinney said, from a financial standpoint, the local hosting committee is in good shape to keep the convention running smoothly for the next 9 years.
For most of the 65,000 FFA members who will attend this year’s convention, this will be their first trip to Indiana. For Derrell Patel from Georgia, this is his 3rd national convention, but his first trip to Indiana. He told HAT that he has felt very much at home, “As soon as we got off the plane, we started seeing the FFA logo. There are welcome FFA banners all over this town. It is truly an amazing experience.”
Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly said, in a statement, “I’m glad the National FFA Convention is back in Indianapolis this year and for years to come. These FFA members are the future of agriculture in Indiana and across the country. Their ideas and leadership will transform the ways we feed the world and fuel our economy. I am proud of our FFA members and look forward to continue working with them for the future of agriculture.”\
A day of service begins today, with general sessions and motivational speakers beginning on Thursday.
HAT coverage of the National FFA convention is made possible by Beck’s Hybrids, saluting the FFA and its members.