National FFA Convention

If you really want to get pumped up about the future of agriculture and youth in general, accompany your children or friends to the National FFA Convention.

The convention, now in Louisville, KY, is far larger than the one I attended as a state officer and award recipient in Kansas City in the 1960’s. This year’s convention had over 50,000 attendees and is becoming so large that it is being moved to Indianapolis in 2006.

The landscape of FFA is changing. After working with the nominating team for the new slate of national officers, some interesting perspectives were presented that will influence the future landscape of agriculture.

In 1969, the first official female was granted membership in the organization. However, that was the first official member. A high school classmate, Barbara Noble, was our first official member in our chapter in 1967. I sure had a visionary agricultural instructor! Today, 38% of the membership is female, with representation in over 7,000 chapters with 12,000 plus vo-ag instructors

The surprising statistic was that over 75% of the officer teams are comprised of females. To any agribusiness or farm organization, this foretells the future of women in leadership positions in agriculture.

The urban chapters are adding much needed energy to our industry. It was so much fun working with state officers from Illinois, South Dakota, New Mexico, Delaware, Connecticut, Florida and Minnesota in developing questions about agriculture’s future to better prepare our agricultural youth in meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist at Virginia Tech. He recently completed a sabbatical working with the Royal Bank of Canada. He is now back at Virginia Tech with his academic appointment, which is teaching, extension, and applied research.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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