Stars Align in Indianapolis: A Recap of National FFA Convention 2019

FFA Star in Agribusiness Blake Kennedy encourages FFA members to be creative when it comes to their SAE and to not be afraid to be different. ( National FFA )

Networking and educational opportunities draw in thousands of FFA members and advisors from throughout the country to attend the National FFA Convention each year. This year’s convention was no exception, drawing in a record crowd with more than 70,000 students and advisors attending this hallmark event. Four young leaders were named the “stars” of 2019 for their outstanding accomplishments in FFA and agricultural education. 

Star in Agribusiness: Blake Kennedy of the Tecumseh FFA Chapter in Oklahoma
Blake Kennedy took over his family’s annual pig sale as part of his SAE, infusing it with some agribusiness marketing magic. In order to capture more success for the sale, he implemented social media marketing to increase the sale’s reach. He is a senior in college preparing to eventually earn a master’s degree and continue growing his pig sale and marketing ventures. He encourages FFA members to be creative when it comes to their SAE and to not be afraid to be different.

Star Farmer: Willis Wolf of the Merced-El Capitan FFA Chapter in California
Willis Wolf has been working on his supervised agricultural experience (SAE) for the past several years, raising both goats and the hay forage to feed them. He said his family is not known for goats, but he wanted to learn how to handle new kinds of livestock. He farms in central California and attends California State University – Fresno. His involvement in FFA has driven him to seek new opportunities and spread his agricultural knowledge to a wider audience. 

Star in Agricultural Placement: Andrew Streff of the McCook Central FFA Chapter in South Dakota
Agriculture is all in the family for Andrew Streff who started his SAE on the family farm, tending to 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans with his father. He added on to his SAE by completing two internships – one as a crop scout intern and one as an agriculture technology specialist intern. He said a person can never know too much about agriculture and continuing to get an education is key. He will complete his degree from South Dakota State University in spring 2020 and plans to eventually take over the family farm.

Star in AgriScience: Courtney Cameron of the Lowndes FFA Chapter in Georgia
Courtney Cameron did the math and says she has spent a third of her life involved in plant disease research. She initially found a research avenue that would cultivate her interest in plant pathology when tobacco mosaic virus spread through the plants in her high school’s greenhouse. Through her research she found that aspirin is effective in controlling the disease in heirloom tomato plants. Using this treatment, farmers could save $2.6 million a year. She attends the University of Georgia where she studies agriscience and is involved in research concerning fungal pathogens.

Check out Farm Journal’s Coverage of the National FFA Convention:

National FFA Convention Wraps Up, Boasts Record Membership
AgDay’s Clinton Griffiths caught up with the CEO Mark Poeschl to ask him what's next for FFA. “While there are 700,000 FFA members, there are over a million young people that are in ag education, which means we have about a 70% market share,” Poeschl said. 

More Than a Jacket: Karlene Krueger's FFA Journey
Watching her daughter’s growing love for agriculture means a lot to Karlene Lindow Krueger of Campbellsport, Wisc. It wasn’t too long ago that Karlene was buying her first steer as a young FFA member. And now, it’s her daughter’s turn.

4 Things FFA Taught Me
If I could go back and live my younger years all over again, I would choose FFA every time, says Farm Journal's PORK editor Jennifer Shike. Here are four things FFA taught her that you can’t learn from a book. 

Behind The Scenes: FFA Chapter Competes For Top Award At Convention
There are roughly 8,000 FFA chapters throughout the U.S. Ten of them were up for a major award at the National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis last week - the Medal of Excellence award.

FFA Proficiency Finalist Strives to Make Ag Fun
“Talking to those younger kids in elementary school about ag and making it really fun for them is the perfect way to get them excited about it and help them remember it in a fun way," said Elizabeth Brooks of Ashland, Mo., one of four national proficiency award finalists in agricultural education.