Twelve Urbana FFA students had the opportunity to travel to Indianapolis, Indiana for 4 days to attend the 94th National FFA Convention.
The convention consisted of over 50,000 FFA members and guests from all over the country. They did this by going to sessions, the career and college exposition as well as touring agricultural facilities.
The Urbana FFA members and their advisors traveled on a charter bus alongside Ridgedale and West Liberty-Salem’s FFA chapters. The Urbana students who attended were Kendra Baccus, McKayla Mills, Marah Kerns, Faith Denkewalter, Max Anderson, Nathan Deere, Layne Settle, Bryce Stambaugh, Mason Farmer, Zaiden Johnson, Sam Wilhelm, and Madison McAlexander.
The four days were filled with FFA activities. On Wednesday, the chapters made their way towards Indiana and made a stop at MVP Dairy.
At MVP Dairy, they got an awesome tour of the farm and got to even play with the virtual reality cow milking game and sample some Dannon yogurt products that MVP has a contract with.
Afterward, they stopped at Becks Hybrids to learn about how they make and grow their hybrid plants. That night the students unpacked in their hotel rooms and participated in group activities.
On Thursday morning students went to the convention all day at the Indiana Convention Center which included the opening session and the career show.
At the opening session, keynote speaker Courtenay DeHoff, also known as the fancy lady cowgirl, touched students with her story, and the retiring national secretary Anna Mathis gave her loving speech.
During the second session, Urbana’s own 2020 graduate, Justin Preece was a finalist in his proficiency area of Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance Job Placement. He was escorted onstage with the other finalists for the announcement of their placings.
Justin won the National title in his area.
At the career show, students were able to shop, have lunch, and visit a ton of educational booths at this time. Afterward, the students had Blaze Pizza, which is a place where you create your own pizza, and then went back to the hotel for more group activities and free time.
On Friday the students left bright and early for Fair Oaks Dairy where they toured for a few hours and visited the farrowing building, calf birthing center, and more. Then the bus made its way to the rodeo at Indiana Farmer Coliseum at the fairgrounds.
Most of the students had never been to a rodeo before, so it was a very fun experience for all.
Saturday morning consisted of going back to the convention for the American degree session. There are many requirements you must meet to receive your American Degree. Some of these requirements are to have received the State FFA Degree, have a record of satisfactory participation in the activities on the chapter and state level, have participated in at least 50 hours of community service within at least three different community service activities in addition with unpaid or paid hours in an SAE, to have been an active FFA member for the past three years, and have graduated from high school at least one year prior to the national convention at which the degree will be awarded.
Urbana had two American Degree recipients, Conor Thomas and Justin Preece. This honor is bestowed on less than 2% of the FFA population and a huge accomplishment! On the way home, all students and advisors shared one person that they had met on the trip, 2 facts about them, what school they go to, what grade they are in, and then shared what their favorite part of the trip was and their ah-ha moment with the group.
This was a great wrap up to an eventful 4 days where FFA members got to celebrate their successes and learn more about agriculture all while enjoying the camaraderie of one another.
Marah Kerns is the Urbana FFA reporter