FFA members across Iowa will gather in Ames for the 89 the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference Sunday through Tuesday.
The convention takes place at Iowa State University’s Hilton Coliseum.
Iowa FFA President Elisa Russ says the theme for this year is “Transform.”
“The theme is the National FFA theme that has been used throughout the year. We’re excited about it. It is a memorable theme and we are excited to transform our conference.”
Russ hopes students see all available opportunities with FFA.
“We throw a lot of students across our stage to recognize them for all of the hard work they have done. Hopefully they can see some of their friends and classmates go across the stage for the awesome things they have been doing and help inspire them to get involved in local programs.”
The annual conference also provides Ag students the opportunity to participate in Career Development Event competitions, become inspired by motivational speakers, interact with college and business professionals, and develop leadership skills.
This year’s keynote speaker is Kevin Laue, a one-armed basketball player. Russ says if that doesn’t speak to students about overcoming diversity she doesn’t know what would.
“Being able to take the lesson from him and overcoming the struggles life throws at us and in agriculture we know we have different things that come up every year in the industry, we have to overcome. That message will really hit home with our members.”
One challenge family farms face is convincing their children to come back to the farm especially in a low farm economy.
“If we can shed light on the awesome things happening in small towns in rural Iowa, I think that does play a part in helping our members realize it is good to go home. It is good to return back to the farm even if times aren’t as good as they are in the past,” Russ says.
This year’s theme embraces more than 85 years of FFA traditions while looking forward to the organization’s future. The Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference is the 5th largest of its kind in the National FFA Organization.
Chapter delegates and Iowa FFA Officers will also conduct the annual business session to make decisions for the student-run Iowa FFA Association. Students will also be engaged in a service project with Meals from the Heartland with a goal of packaging 175,000 meals.
State officers from ten other states will also be in attendance presenting various workshops and interacting with FFA members from Iowa. The Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference is presented with support from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation through the Iowa FFA Foundation.