FFA 89th Iowa Leadership Conference flaunts record attendance


Alec Giljohann/Iowa State Daily

Flames fly for the presentation of an award by the Iowa FFA President at the 89th annual leadership Conference in Hilton Coliseum. 5,041 FFA members from 218 chapters were in attendance.

Sheikh Jallow

Navy blue jackets dotted Iowa State’s campus early this week as the FFA hosted its 89th Iowa Leadership Conference at Hilton Coliseum.

The convention was completed through four sessions on Monday and Tuesday. This year’s event was the largest in the organization’s history, hosting about 5,800 students and guests.

“The energy is very high because members love the thrill of the event,” Cully Forsyth, FFA North Central Vice President, said.

The organization is an extracurricular student organization that has been around since 1928, focusing primarily in agriculture. However, it expanded scope by welcoming students interested in other disciplines.

“Anybody is welcome to join,” Cully said. “It’s not just agriculture anymore; there are a lot of different aspects to it.”

The conference provides an opportunity for high school and middle school students to hone their leadership skills, immerse themselves in volunteer projects and discover scholarship opportunities.

“Myself and eight other teammates worked hard to showcase what the students had worked on so hard the whole year,” Cully said. “Whether it was the career development event, which basically built their leadership skills, and among other things are agriculture base.” 

Membership for high school students ends after graduation, however, they still remain as alumni of the organization. Being an affiliate of the FFA can play a crucial role for these students’ careers.   

“Companies do look at students that were in FFA have a good work ethic because of the things that we do provide many ways for students to grow,” Cully said. “There are industry professionals that have the opportunity to connect with members throughout the entire year so they build those relationships, which carries on after they leave.”     

State fairs in Des Moines expose student members to these opportunities. In some cases, students showcase different livestock projects, however, the annual convention is a colossal aspect of the FFA organization.

“We do conferences throughout the year that members have the opportunity to attend,” Cully said. “It focuses on different careers that student members may want to go in after high school. But definitely the state convention is always the highlight of the year.”