Ten San Benito High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) students and their advisers traveled to the 91st annual National Future Farmers of America Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana, from Oct. 24-27. Over 67,000 FFA members and guests from across the country representing all 50 states attended. FFA is the largest student group in the nation, according to the National FFA Organization.
Throughout the week, attendees heard from keynote speakers, including President Donald Trump, as well as enjoyed concerts, general sessions and workshops. Participants were able to explore an expo of agriculture education featuring industry leaders.
Hollister FFA member Taryn Wright said she attended the convention to meet new people and see FFA taken to another level. She serves as the Hollister FFA Treasurer and this year marks her first time at the convention.
“I’m hoping to further my knowledge of FFA and learn new skills that I can take back to our community,” said Wright.
First time FFA member attendee Colby Robinson said she went with the aim of expanding her leadership skills and to learn more about the opportunities FFA offers.
“I am hoping to be able to bring back new ideas that will better Hollister FFA as a whole and bring us closer as a chapter,” said Robinson.
Hollister FFA President and Santa Clara Section President Railyn King has attended the national convention in previous years and looked forward to interacting with FFA members.
“I’m excited to see Breanna Holbert, past California state FFA Secretary, serve as the National FFA President,” King said. “I hope to learn a lot of different things from people from other states so that I can bring new ideas to improve the Hollister FFA chapter and Santa Clara Section.”
Several Hollister FFA alumni have received the honorary American FFA degree, including Madison Ann Andrade, John Bianchi, Kyle Cabrera, Corissa King, Isabella Pulido, Mark Scalmanini, Samantha Simmons, and Samantha Warren.
“I have worked all 4 years of high school and my freshman year of college to be able to get this degree,” said Corissa King, the San Benito County Rodeo Queen of 2017 and Gilroy Rodeo Queen of 2019. “I am very grateful to have a supportive family that is able to support me going to these events.”
To be eligible for the degree, FFA members must earn and invest $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience program where they started, owned, or held employment in an existing agriculture enterprise. They must also complete 50 hours of community service and demonstrate leadership abilities.
According to the National FFA Organization, only 1 percent of FFA members receive this degree “It means alot to me to even have the opportunity to come to Indiana and receive my American Degree,” said alumna Samantha Simmons. “Without the help of my parents and Hollister FFA chapter advisors, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to earn this degree.”
According to the FFA website, the National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 669,989 student members who belong to one of 8,630 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by 459,514 alumni members in 2,236 alumni chapters throughout the U.S.