Backed by an unprecedented 67,000-strong blue jacket army, newly elected FFA leaders are preparing to highlight agriculture opportunity in 2017-2018.
Six new FFA leaders from across farm country were elected at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Ind., which featured record-shattering attendance. “All six have the leadership skills to share the importance of FFA in agriculture in our society,” says Kristy Meyer, communications manager of FFA.
Meyer says agriculture’s talent pipeline is a key issue for the new FFA leadership: “There are 255 careers in agriculture and we’re seeing a need to fill those jobs. We want our leaders to push that message with our membership in order to help them explore career opportunities and perhaps meet the need.”
Breanna Holbert (ag education major at California State University of Chico) was elected national president. “We want to provide opportunities through diversity and inclusiveness,” Holbert says. “We’d like to help open doors by providing competitions or programs that will allow students from different backgrounds to have something that relates to them and affects agriculture.”
Erica Baier (ag education major at Iowa State University) was chosen as national secretary. Piper Merritt (ag economics major at Oklahoma State University) will serve as elected central region vice president. Bryce Cluff (ag technology major at the University of Arizona) was elected western region vice president. Ian Bennett (agriscience and environmental systems major at the University of Georgia) was elected southern region vice president. Gracie Furnish (career and technical education major at the University of Kentucky), will be the eastern region vice president.
At the annual National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as national officers. Delegates serve a one-year term. According to the FFA: “Each officer travels more than 100,000 national and international miles to interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, the general public, and more.”
“We’re really looking forward to working with this new team,” Meyer adds. “The record attendance of 67,000 at this year’s Expo shows the exciting future of the FFA."