FFA: I Can. We Will.
Next week an estimated 64,000 FFA members from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will merge together to connect, celebrate, influence and engage at the 90th Annual National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana. This year’s theme is “I Can. We Will.”
As a former FFA member, I think this year’s theme is a great representation of what FFA is and how the program encourages youth to get involved and explore the world of agriculture.
FFA gives its members tools and resources to see the wide variety of opportunities in agriculture through SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experiences) and CDE (Career Development Events) programs. Through these experiences, an FFA member can see all the possibilities available in the agriculture industry.
Before FFA, I had always had an interest in agriculture, growing up on my family’s corn, soybean, pig and sheep farm, but had never looked at agriculture as too much more than being a farmer. While being a farmer had been an interest of mine, I guess I never thought there was too much of an opportunity for me. But after starting FFA I realized all the avenues I could go to still support and grow the industry that I loved.
I personally benefited greatly from the Agricultural Communications Career Development Events. I had a passion for communications and realized through FFA, I could share that passion and make a career in communications. I instantly fell in love with radio broadcasting, thanks to FFA. I participated in the CDE both locally and at the district level and thanks to the confidence I gained by participating in the program, I was an on-air radio student ag broadcaster throughout my college career. The CDE helped me discover and understand the career in high school so I was prepared to apply and receive the job in college.
FFA can help all of its members develop their potential, not only during the traditional years in high school, but beyond.
One of the best parts of going to the National FFA Convention as an FFA member is that you get to see the “bigger picture”. You literally get to meet members from every state in the nation and get to learn what agriculture looks like to them.
Living in Iowa my entire life I had a pretty narrow focus on what agriculture was. It wasn’t until attending the National FFA Convention for the first time I really thought about what agriculture looked like for other people in different states and different countries. It was then that I started realizing the impact that FFA had as a whole, bringing all aspects of agriculture together for a common goal, of “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live and Living to Serve.”
Participating in the National FFA Convention helped me learn the power of connecting with others. While there were literally thousands of us walking around the convention center in blue corduroy, we all were different people with different ideas and viewpoints. FFA and that blue corduroy was our initial connection to each other. As members go to workshops or on tours they can start to discover more connections beyond the FFA jacket. Building connections is the best way to share your agriculture story with others, and in the end make an impact with others.
Together FFA can help their local communities, such as the local chapter doing a park clean-up or helping at a local safety day. Together FFA can make an impact in their state by bringing together members to influence and strengthen their leadership skills and work together towards a shared vision or cause. Together FFA can make a strong presence in the nation and worldwide, encouraging its members to be entrepreneurs and work towards advancing the agriculture industry.
The possibilities truly are endless in agriculture, and through FFA members get to experience that. “I Can. We Will.” is not on this year’s national convention them, but it serves as the motive for the entire 2017-2018 year. So FFA members, take advantage of all the opportunities available through FFA and get inspired to see what you all can do as an individual and the power working together through the huge, strong, nationwide network of FFA.