National FFA Delegates Go All Out to Serve

By Cassie Olson

LOUISVILLE- Sarah Dornink knows something about advocating for agriculture…and the national FFA delegate process, too.

“The national delegate process affects where the organization goes,” Dornink, a delegate coordinator, said. “It’s a process that develops from the bottom up, beginning with the individual state associations, and ending in proposals to the National FFA Board of Directors.” Continue reading

Concerts and Connecting: Where does common ground come into play?

georgia ffa

A few weeks ago, I headed down south to the land of the pines for the 85th Georgia FFA State Convention. As a music lover, one of my favorite parts is always the convention concert on Friday night. I knew the band was undoubtedly talented, but there was a question I was waiting to be answered: Will they connect with the crowd?

The Farm answered that question quickly with a hand-clappin’, beach ball-bouncin’, beautifully harmonious yes! They played covers. No, not building a fort in the living room with all the sheets in the house, but they played familiar songs. The Farm could have played their entire new album to get exposure for songs few would know; they didn’t. Sure, they threw in a few of their original pieces, but they were amidst popular tunes like “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Ring of Fire.” They hit every style from Alabama to Michael Jackson. The night became less of a performance and more of a campfire sing along where everyone could be a part of the fun. The Farm knew that creating an enjoyable experience for their audience was more important than promoting their name, so they focused on the common ground.

Who will you connect with this summer? Find the common ground. It builds trust to explore and learn from the uncommon ground.

At camp…So what if she’s from the southern part of the state and you’re from the north? Maybe he grew up on a farm and you grew up in town. Focus on the experiences you can share over the next week. Does he play basketball? Start a game of 3-on-3 before supper. Is she already going to that leadership workshop? Tag along!

On the job…You didn’t choose them, but you’re punching the clock with them for at least a few months. Find a way to make it more fun for everyone. Is he competitive? Make a menial task a game. Does she love ice cream? Go celebrate with a scoop or two at the end of each week!

With the sibs…Even if you’re still finding his legos in your backpack or wake up to her rendition of the newest One Direction hit, you’re family. This is a special time we can pour into our brothers and sisters. Read a book together and talk about what you’re learning. Does he like to run? Hit the trail with him. Is she learning to play an instrument? Sit and listen to her latest piece.

As part of the team…The great part of teams is that we all bring something to the table. We all have different ideas of what our FFA chapters should do for the next year, but what do we have in common? Is everyone passionate about the agricultural awareness day you put together for elementary school students? Spend extra time take it to the next level. Looking for ways to increase attendance at FFA meetings? Focus on what FFA members enjoy. Consider adding fun recreation after business – maybe it’s a game of capture the flag or water games. Ask them!

In his book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect,  John C. Maxwell says, “Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.” The FFA Creed challenges us to “exert an influence in our home and community.” Let’s do it! Connect. Influence.

~Kalie Hall, National FFA

National FFA Officers visit Arkansas

The National FFA Officer team traveled nearly 1200 miles this week, all over Arkansas to kick off their year of service. They visited 85 chapters and more than 1500 students!

They also appeared on an Little Rock, Arkansas TV station to talk about their trip:

National Officer video

This afternoon, the officers will meet with the governor of Arkansas at the state capitol building.

New York FFA urges you to help fight hunger

In this eye-opening video, New York FFA officers, explain how people can become food insecure in the aftermath of disasters like Hurricane Sandy, challenge commonly-held beliefs about hunger, and tell you how you can help.


And, your Champions of Change honorees are…

On October 9, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Public Engagement will welcome 4-H and FFA members and their mentors to the White House to recognize the exceptional ways they are impacting their communities.

The White House Champions of Change program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the country who are “Winning the Future” with projects and initiatives that move their communities forward.  Each week, the Office of Public Engagement (OPE) hosts an event to honor those who are working to empower and inspire other members of their communities.

The recognition ceremony for FFA and 4-H members will be broadcast live at on October 9, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Eastern.

Read on to learn more about each FFA honoree…

Continue reading

Telling Our Story

The rental van is parked in front of the FFA center. We just finished a morning of convention planning, and hurry out to hop in the van. Hitting the highway, we’re headed for a Rotary Club meeting in Carmel, Indiana. The building is beautiful, and the folks inside greet us with welcoming smiles.

The message we bring today describes the pillars FFA is centered around, personal growth, premier leadership, and career success. Alicia, Ken, and I each take our turns sharing stories with the audience and answering a few questions. Hopefully, the community leaders in the room will volunteer at national convention, or even rally support for an agricultural education program in Carmel. Afterwards, we’re presented a children’s book and asked to sign it. The book will be donated to the local library. We remain at the building for goodbyes and are the last to leave.  

Back in the van, we have a conversation about the importance of sharing our story. In order to Grow our influence and create opportunities for more students, the story of FFA needs to reach wider and further. What can you do to share the story of FFA in your area? How about your own story of the difference FFA has made in your life? In today’s world of information sharing and instant communication, we can share our story in a new and more effective way. Consider using Facebook, Twitter, or internet blogs to tell your story. FFA officers are in a great position to share their story. State officers should visit, to learn about the State Officer Challenge.

Tomorrow our officer team hits the road again to Missouri, Wisconsin, Texas, and South Carolina. We’ll be alongside local and state FFA members sharing the story of FFA with community members, students, and agricultural leaders. Share your FFA story with your community. Every single person in America relies on agriculture daily. They will listen, use your voice.


By Seth Pratt


This Year’s Convention Delegate Committee Issues

Each year at the national FFA convention, up to 475 delegates convene to debate and vote on issues that effect FFA members across the country.

Here are the issues that will be considered at this year’s national FFA convention. They were decided upon this past week by officers in attendance at the State Presidents’ Conference.

  • Creation of a Discussion Meet
    Explore a discussion based career development event focused on topics related to agriculture.
  • Evaluation of Proficiency Award Areas
    Explore expanding current, or creating new, proficiency award areas inclusive of students engaged in urban agriculture or food service.
  • Agricultural Equipment Operation and Safety
    Explore the creation of a career development event which addresses agricultural equipment operation and safety.
  • Creation of an Agricultural Summit
    Explore the development of an experience that engages students in agricultural advocacy and industry.
  • Agricultural Education Career Development Event
    Explore the creation of a national agricultural education career development event based on the skills, competencies, and knowledge required for a career as an agricultural educator.
  • Aquaculture Career Development Event
    Explore the creation of an event that prepares students for a career in the aquaculture industry.

Family Experience

Not afraid!

“Team building is all about relationships and relationships are all about patience.”

 This quote embodied my recent experience at Oklahoma’s Alumni Leadership Camp which was focused around team building.  This four-day, fast paced, high energy camp drew 382 students from around the state seeking a week of motivation and learning.  We were inspired by Bill Cordes, Kelly Barnes, Dr. Rick Rigsby, and Dr. Al Snyder our keynote speakers and enjoyed Water Olympics, a ropes course, and small group time.  This camp most definitely is a highlight of my year of service.  It is amazing what can be accomplished when we are surrounded by positive individuals who all desire to grow.  I was blessed with many other helpful small group leaders and an amazing small group to share this experience with.  This group of individuals made the week wonderful and helped to teach and reinforce some very valuable points in life.  Here are some thoughts on our week…

“Positive attitude will not allow you to do anything that you want, but it will allow you to do everything better.” 

Throughout our time together, there were activities we breezed through and others where we struggled. The group understood we were naturally talented at some things and they would come easy. On the ropes course we did wonderful at the walk of faith helping to guide each other on 2x4s held up in the air.


On the other hand we struggled with the land skis and having everyone move together.  The group stayed positive and preserved to walk 25 feet together reaching our goal.  Not only was the positive attitude contagious it helped us to laugh so much and have a wonderful time! Even when a couple of our small group members tripped off the land skis we could hardly stop laughing.  It was such an enjoyable time made of great memories.

Don’t forget to stay positive and laugh.

Patience and balance!

“When you pray to God for patience, do you think that he gives you patience or the opportunity to be patient?”

I was continually amazed at how patient my small group was with me when I made mistakes facilitating in our small group or I was not sure about the traditions of camp.  They were also so patient with each other as some had attended camp or participated in the activity before and others it was all brand new.  We grew together and learned together realizing that each person learns at a different pace and has a different set of experiences.  This was especially evident when we shared stories about when our role was changed in life whether that was from a brother or sister graduating, to having a family member pass away, or becoming the captain of a sports team.  My small group openly shared their experiences which helped to shape their identity.

Relax and patiently help those around you learn.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but in time my bones will heal.  The words you say, you may never know, the words you say may kill.”

This quote sounds a little different from the typical one we all bought into and believed as young kids.  We feel like this is a much more accurate quote especially in our high school hallways now days.  One of the most powerful tools we have is our words.  We can choose to use this tool as a way to build up those around us or as a weapon against them. The discussion went deep as to how devastating our words can be and how we especially as leaders have a responsibility to not only live by example, but try to influence others to do the same.

-Remember the power we have and the way we must use it.

“It is really hard to hate someone when you know their story.”

By the end of our week of experiences, our small group was like a family.  We laughed together, struggled together, celebrated together and shared together.  We learned each other’s stories and supported one another continuously regardless of the task at hand.  This week has taught me that relationships are the most important aspects in our lives.  And my week gave me a few more to add to my family: Andy, Makayla, Keylan, Tanner, Kaitlyn, Alli, Mickey, Stephanie, Jamie, Haly, and Stetson.  “All of us need each of us, and each of us need all of us.”   Thank you for being a part of the most important part of life: others!

Appreciate the people in your life. 

Our family!🙂

Stationed by the ear of corn,

Jason Troendle

FFA Chapter Tribute – Waldron FFA, Michigan


A tip of the hat to Waldron FFA in Michigan from our friends over at “This Week in AgriBusiness.”  They were chosen for this week’s FFA Chapter Tribute.

Would you like to see your FFA chapter featured on the show? Send this FFA Chapter Tribute form, along with 4-5 photos of your chapter’s activities to Tracy Steffen at

Then and Now

Check out these “Then and Now” photos submitted by two Ohio FFA members for the National FFA Convention Theme Video Challenge!

Submit your own photos today for your chance to be part of National FFA Convention history!

National FFA Convention Theme Video Challenge Guidelines