National FFA Organization convenes at Iowa State


By Jack McClellan

FFA State President, Mia Gibson pictured while delivering her retiring address at the fourth general session.

Jack Mcclellan

Iowa State hosted the 94th annual FFA leadership conference this week, featuring a variety of events from career shows to huge general sessions.

The conference began Sunday and ended Tuesday. Over 6,000 people from across the state attended the conference, gaining knowledge and experience pertaining to careers in agriculture.

“Every member who puts on a blue corduroy jacket, they hold a very similar story of passion and excitement within that organization,” Jacob Zajkowski, an FFA State Officer from Ohio, said. “And it’s cool just to walk up to someone, introduce yourself and see where they’re from and what their story is.”

The conference included four different general sessions that took place in Hilton Coliseum. Spectators who were unfamiliar with FFA would be surprised to find such a high-energy environment surrounding future prospects in agriculture.

The general sessions provided an opportunity to celebrate recent achievements and present awards to FFA members from across the state. Lazer shows and plumes of fire spewing from the stage marked some of the sessions’ most lively moments. According to Zajkowski, Iowa has a reputation for holding some of the wildest and most high-energy conferences.

“So there’s four or five sessions every year that we recognize students in, in different proficiency award areas, but we also have a state officer team in which we hear retiree addresses from, we have keynote speakers,” Zajkowski said. “We recognize our foundation sponsors and all those who contribute to agricultural education.”

Various workshops were also available to attendees of the conference, giving members a chance to broaden their agricultural knowledge and sharpen their leadership skills. Over 20 workshops were offered throughout the conference in the Scheman Building.

Also at the conference was a career show, where 53 different businesses, colleges and agricultural foundations set up booths to showcase the work they do in the field of agriculture. The career show took place Monday and Tuesday in the Scheman Building.

“The convention is something that members from all over the state can look forward to; it happens every April, and you meet so many new people, and it’s just a big impact,” Katrina Hageman, a high school sophomore from South Winneshiek Community School District, said. “You can meet friends who last forever and all these memories that will last forever too.”

For FFA members, being surrounded by like-minded individuals with similar interests is an event to anticipate. One high point of the general sessions for many FFA members is hearing from retiring state officers and seeing peers receive awards and honors.

“[it gave me] A sense of wanting to be more, like you see all these kids on stage, they’re getting all these degrees, and I feel like these inspire people to start wanting to be involved more and wanting to be on stage,” Hageman said. “I know last year when I came as a freshman I wanted to be more involved when I saw people on stage.”