Back in October, I got to live out a dream by attending the FFA National Convention, where fellow AdFarmers, Josh Lysne, Libby Hall, and I taught delegates from several states how to strategically use social media for agriculture advocacy.
Standing in that room, you could feel the energy and enthusiasm radiating from these FFA members. Ranging in age from 16 to 22, it was obvious that these young people are the future of agriculture.
As an FFA alum, I was bursting with pride, excitement, and passion. Even now, months later, I feed off the extra energy boost I got from learning alongside and growing with those students that day!
Well, this week is National FFA Week, and the U.S. agriculture industry’s social media outlets are pretty well dominated by blue and gold. It serves as a great reminder of the integrity that this program fosters in tomorrow’s agricultural leaders.
My FFA experience was unusual – I was the president of my chapter in its foundation year, and the chapter was a co-op of three different schools. I never obtained any degrees (although I was granted an Honorary Chapter Degree!) and only did one Career Development Experience (CDE). But, I went to National Convention in 2007 and I spent a year of my life immersed in blue and gold!
I’m not the only FFA alum in AdFarm, by a long shot. In fact, I’d say a pretty high percentage of our U.S. AdFarmers have at least one blue corduroy jacket hiding in a closet somewhere. And many of our on-staff FFA enthusiasts put my FFA involvement to shame.
Sacramento AdFarmer Brandon Souza was pretty heavily involved in FFA, and led a pretty esteemed career. In fact, within his first year he was winning awards as an outstanding Greenhand (which is what first-year FFA members are called).
Sharlene Garcia, also from our Sacramento office, was a California State FFA Officer – a Secretary. She met her husband through FFA, and is still incredibly passionate about the program. And, actually, Sharlene and Brandon first met through FFA, as well. Sharlene was a presenter at a Greenhand Conference which Brandon attended, and she awarded Brandon a Star Greenhand Award!
These are just a few examples of FFA’s impact on some of our AdFarmers. All of us would agree that this program has deeply and positively impacted our lives, professionally and personally. And as devoted members of the FFA family, we continue to be proud and honored to work alongside this great organization as it continues to help young agriculturalists develop into outstanding leaders.