Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Discovering Washington FFA!

This past weekend, I had the coolest opportunity to attend the 94th Washington FFA Convention and Expo! In honor of our convention theme, Discover, I knew I had to tell you all about all the crazy adventures that came along with it!

 

Flying Solo-

Washington State University is about 2,000 miles and 30 hours away from the Indiana FFA Leadership Center. With all of this ground to cover, I decided to fly by myself for the first time… ever! I won’t lie, this was a little intimidating. Thankfully, everything went smoothly. I was able to see the Northern Lights up in the sky, visit the tiniest airport with only two gates, and made my way around Seattle’s airport without getting lost, whoop whoop!


Washington State University- 

Washington held their State Convention at a college campus, similar to Indiana holding our State Convention at Purdue! WSU’s campus was absolutely stunning! The rolling hills made for a constant walk uphill, but the views were worth it. Washington’s biggest commodities are apples and wheat which showed as every hill was filled with wheat fields and pasture grass. I am so lucky I was able to see such an agriculturally rooted state!


WA FFA Expo- 

The last few days I was able to move around the expo and connect with so many businesses and industries in the West! It was so neat to see our similarities and differences! I was able to learn about AgWest Farm Credit, the University of Idaho Natural Resources, and my personal favorite WSU College of Veterinary Medicine! 


Workshops-

I had the opportunity to present two workshops to Washington FFA members! All of the workshop attendees were super interactive, willing, and overall fun! I sat in and assisted with some other Visiting State Officer’s workshops too! I’m so thankful I got to help others learn some new leadership skills while also building mine as well!


Sessions-

During my time in Washington, I was only able to attend the opening session. Although I was only able to attend one session, I was able to see how much fun Washington FFA is! From literal dance breaks during the session, shouting WAFFA WAFFA WAFFA in the crowd, or listening to the coolest talent performances, it was a party! Washington FFA also has apple judging and potato judging! How cool is that? I have to give a big thank you to the amazing 2023-2024 Washington FFA State Officers for creating these awesome sessions!


Now I won’t lie, Indiana FFA has and will always have my heart, but I would be lying if I told you I didn’t enjoy discovering a new part of FFA and the world! I know I will carry these moments and lessons with me as we head into the 95th Indiana FFA State Convention next month! See you all there!

See you all soon!!!! :-)

With love, 

Maddie Denton, State Secretary


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Discover the Memories of the Year

As the time is ticking down and knowing that the final days are here I can't help but think of some of my favorite memories of the year. 

  1. Attending State Officer Summit; where I made some lifelong friends across the country. 

  2. The Great Indiana State Fair; getting to meet and talk to members while enjoying the state fair. 

  3. Conferences; a time to meet even more members but also develop a passion for teaching the younger generation. 

  4. National Convention; getting to reunite with other state officers from across the country and enjoy national convention on a different side. 

  5. Business and Industry visits; expanding my knowledge about the agriculture industry and interacting with industry professionals. 

  6. FFA Week; traveling the southern part of Indiana, meeting more members and exploring other ag classrooms. 

  7. Attending Oregon’s FFA State Convention; reuniting with friends from across the country and learning more about Oregon agriculture. 

  8. Banquet season; traveling the state to visit chapters to honor members and their hard work from the year. 

As the days pass by and the tasks pile up, I find myself cherishing these moments the most. I am grateful to every member I have crossed paths with for contributing to what has been an incredible experience. To my teammates, your unwavering support and acceptance have meant the world to me. Let's hold on to the memories we've created as our time together draws to a close.

Tanner Weakley, State Sentinel 


Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Slow Down and Reflect This Banquet Season

As an FFA member sometimes it feels like you never have time to slow down and reflect. As soon as one CDE has finished, that means it's time to start prepping for the next one or writing your proficiency or running for a chapter office. However, throughout that busy schedule there is a perfect opportunity to reflect on your year: the chapter banquet. This is the time when every member is rewarded for all their hard work and success throughout the year. After attending five chapter banquets so far this spring, I put together a list of three things to do at your chapter banquet.



  1. Reflect on your year in FFA. As you receive your hard earned recognition for your success, reflect on each CDE, LDE, and event you attended and consider all the great memories made along the way.  These are the memories that will truly last a lifetime.

  2. Celebrate your fellow chapter members.  When one member succeeds the whole chapter succeeds, so it's important to honor everyone's success. Be sure to take some time to learn the accomplishments of all members and congratulate them for their success.  These are the people who helped  get you where you are today so be sure to acknowledge them for all their hard work.

  3. Set Goals for the next year. As you reflect on your personal memories and the success of your chapter, it is time to start planning how to make next year even better. Consider what your teammates have done and what you appreciated about this year. Then it is time to set some goals.  These goals could include trying a new CDE, improving your SAE, or forming better connections with members at and above the chapter level. These goals provide a firm foundation to make next year even better. 

After you reflect, celebrate, and set goals you have truly honored this year of FFA.  Now it's time to build off the success from this year to make next year even better. If you have already had your banquet go ahead and start setting those goals.  If your banquet is coming up be sure to take that time during the hectic schedule to reflect, celebrate, and set goals for the future. 


Blaine Wagner, Southern Region Vice President

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Agriculture is Everywhere

For Fall Break, I went to Evanston, Illinois to visit some of my family. Evanston is a suburb just north of Chicago, so I was expecting to see a lot of gray concrete. Once I arrived, that was exactly what I was greeted with, tall buildings, busy streets, and stores on every corner. The only signs of life were obviously the people going to and from work and school, the occasional tree beautifying the side of the street, and the neighborhood park. That is until one morning, my family took my mom and I to the farmer’s market that they are weekly patrons of. 


Because I live in the middle of the country, I have never experienced a farmer’s market before this day. I know crazy, right? Our walk to the market consisted of crossing streets and walking through a parking garage. The parking garage truly caught me off guard, but after we exited I was instantly met with a rainbow; orange, red, green, yellow, and blue made their appearance against the gray concrete that was surrounding the market. Farmer’s from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan brought the product of their toil straight to the members of this community. This puts into perspective that agriculture is everywhere. The farmer’s market was one of the most “happening” places I have ever seen. Seeing consumers interacting with producers directly was so rewarding.


I believe that the consumers at the market being able to build a connection with the producers at the market eased some of the trust issues that many people have with the food industry. Seeing this in a concrete jungle of all places showed how easy it can be to establish trust between producers and consumers. 


Obviously, all agricultural products cannot be sold straight from the farm to the hands of the consumer, but we can ensure agriculture’s story is being told. From daily conversations to social media to blogs, each of us have a role to play in the telling of our industry’s story. Agriculture reaches from coast to coast and from continent to continent, it truly is everywhere. Ensuring the future of agriculture is something that FFA members across the country unite around, but it doesn’t have to stop with members. Agriculturalists of all ages from all backgrounds can unify to have a strong presence and an enormous voice.


Share your story, 

Carson Rudd, State Reporter


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Buckle Up and Enjoy the Ride

While thinking about what to do for this blog I decided to look back through some older blogs. I stumbled upon a blog written by one of our current Assistant Directors of Indiana FFA, Mr. Clingan, who will be leaving to pursue greater ambitions in a few short weeks. His blog was titled “If These Walls Could Talk”. In his blog, he talked about all those who had lived in the State Officer House and then went on to further impact Indiana FFA and agriculture. Little did he know, his name would join the ranks of many who continue to impact this organization. 


After reading through his blog, I thought about how this house has been repaired, repainted, and most recently, received new carpet. There is history held within these 4 walls, but change still happens. As an organization, we have grown and adapted to a changing society and world. This house is 35 years old and has the potential to be the home to many teams to come. None of us know where our future may take us, all we can do is buckle up and enjoy the ride. 


If these walls could talk they wouldn’t speak about the success after we’ve left this organization, they would tell the story of the impact we have right now. Change can happen in an instant and there is nothing we can do to control our future, but we can control our present. Live in the moment and make strides to impact and better the lives of those around you. What would the walls of our ag classroom, where we work, or our home talk about? Would they talk about our success right now or all the opportunities we missed because we forgot to live in the moment? 


Unexpected change is a part of life whether it be new carpet in your house or a mentor and friend pursuing their dreams. These are the things we can’t always control, but we need to remember our why and reason for being a part of this organization. As our team says goodbye to Mr. Clingan this is something we are reminded of: 


No matter what may happen today, tomorrow, or a month from now continue to write your story.


With all the luck, 

Conner Keeslar, Northern Region Vice President


Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Memories from Yesterday. Moments from Today.

I have never been able to get enough adventure. Ever since I can remember, I have always been exploring the woods, swimming in the creek, and even going on “survival missions” with some of my best friends. These have been some of my greatest memories.


I still recall one time very well, and I don’t know if it was because it was so much fun, or if it’s because my mom feels the need to share it with pretty much every guest we have over. No matter the reason, this story still sticks with me. It was a beautiful summer day, and I decided I needed to head outside and enjoy all the beautiful weather. I ran into the woods, toward the creek, and found some fresh mud… if fresh mud is even a thing. I distinctly remember feeling the need to become a mud monster. I started to spread mud up and down my arms, legs, face, hair, and quickly I became the mud monster I was hoping to be.


Just as I was getting ready to leave, my older brother Caleb came running down to see what I was up to, and I told him my plan. He loved this idea! We both worked on making him a mud monster too. We both ended up having the time of our lives by simply playing in the mud. I remember when we were all finished, we headed up to the house, and told mom how we were mud monsters… Unfortunately, mud monsters weren’t allowed in the house. So after all our fun playing in the mud, we had to spray each other down with the hose. Caleb and I probably had a little too much fun spraying each other with the hose, but it made memories that will never end.


I often reminisce upon all the wonderful memories from my past, especially the ones where I got to spray my brother with a garden hose and not get in trouble. But then I have to ask myself a question “Are these moments not just as special as that one?” this one makes me think about how many great opportunities I have been given. The answer to the question I ask myself is yes, yes these moments are just as special. Every moment is a blessing, and how silly is it that sometimes we wish these memory-making moments away. 


Remember the stories that have gotten us through the tough times. remember the tough times that have given us stories. Remember that these moments can be memories in our future if we take time to reflect upon the moments we are given. And maybe we need to go outside and play in the mud as if we were children. Let’s discover what memories we can make in the moment.


Many blessings,


Caden Sixberry, State Treasurer


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

FFA Week: A Look Into My Journal

As a state officer, many days are a blur. In order to best capture the most special moments of this year, I have turned to saving vlogs to my TikTok drafts and journaling at the end of the day (that is, when I remember to). All throughout FFA Week, I reflected on each day and chapter visited, so I thought that I would take this opportunity to share a little of what was written. Here’s a look at the 2024 National FFA Week through my journal!


2/16/2024

Today I got to start FFA Week early! I joined the Monrovia FFA Chapter for their all-school convocation where students got to compete by grade for points, including an Official Dress Race! The Sophomore Class won, and I don’t think I have ever seen anyone put Official Dress on so fast!

Joy(s) of the Day: Visiting with FFA Members is so fulfilling and fueling!

2/17/2024

The Meats and Milk Quality & Products CDEs were at Purdue today! The boys helped with the meats contest…there was NO way I was standing in a meat cooler (haha), and I helped with MQP.

Joy(s) of the Day: Learning about a new contest + Meeting our friend, Brenden, for Coldstone!

2/18/2024

This morning I met the Cascade FFA Chapter at Westbridge Church in Danville, and then went to lunch with them! I was even able to fit in a nap at the Center before going to church and dinner with the Indiana Ag & Tech FFA Chapter at Gateway Cowboy Church in Trafalgar!

Joy(s) of the Day: Lots of laughs with members from two chapters!

2/19/2024

Eastern Hancock held a Chapter Officer Retreat at an AirBnB in Westfield. We had lots of fun learning and laughing together. My parents also got to accompany me to the Indiana Leadership Prayer Breakfast Participant’s Dinner!

Joy(s) of the Day: Facilitating to a small group for the first time in a while + Seeing my parents!

2/20/2024

An early 3:30 AM start to get ready for the Indiana Leadership Prayer Breakfast! I had the honor and privilege of introducing Governor Holcomb for this event and meeting with several legislators and leaders of our Great State. Then I headed to Advocacy Day, where my teammates and I got to interact with several INFFA Members and stood on the Senate Floor to receive our Joint Resolution! I headed to Franklin Community High School to help their Chapter’s Officers deliver cookies to the community’s fire departments!

Joy(s) of the Day: Seeing my teammates and sharing laughs and memories before we headed our own separate ways again!

2/21/2024 

Lots of BIG schools! To my surprise, I didn’t even get lost as I navigated through Indianapolis and three of the largest schools I have ever been to! Area 31 FFA, Beech Grove FFA, and Decatur Central FFA were awesome to hang out with and facilitate to. I had so much fun! I stayed after school with Decatur Central for Tacos and Tye-Dye before I headed to Indian Creek for their Chapter Meeting!

Joy(s) of the Day: Learning about more urban FFA Chapters + sharing my story with members and hearing theirs!

2/22/2024

A much needed morning of sleeping in (aka sleeping until 5:45)! I got to start my morning by joining Whiteland FFA for their Teach the Teachers Event before heading to Edgewood for a couple of class periods. I stopped by the Leadership Center to do some Social Media work and then ventured to the Waldron FFA Chapter Meeting for a delicious meal and fellowship with their members and community. 

Joy(s) of the Day: Seeing Mr. Ramey and Mrs. Meredith when I stopped by the Center! It’s always good to see the familiar faces of our staff members!

2/23/2024

I can’t believe the week is almost over! TOday was my last day with members and chapters. I joined the Danville FFA Chapter for their delicious breakfast…they weren’t kidding when they said that it was the best biscuits and gravy ever! I then returned to Cascade for their Chapter Lunch, where we heard from Co-Alliance, before venturing to Bloomington to work in Starbucks for a little while. I went to Hoosier Hills’ Community Cornhole Event then headed back to my weekend home!

Joy(s) of the Day: A last day full of new and old friends and good food!

2/24/2024

My FFA Week activities may be over, but my busy life doesn’t stop on a weekend home! I got to see some of my good friends from many different states at a sheep sale today, stopped with my family for lunch on the way back home, and then met with three of my best friends from high school for dinner!

Joy(s) of the Day: Being surrounded by the people and things (food and good livestock) that I love most!

2/25/2024

Sundays are for sleeping in….extra late. Once I finally woke up this morning, I went to church with my family. When we got home we grabbed some lunch and my brother and I spent a little time in the barn before I went back to the Center to start my week with my teammates!

Joy(s) of the Day: Reuniting with my teammates after NINE days!

Week Reflection ~

I am so thankful for this opportunity to serve, travel, meet new people, and be abundantly blessed by the little things in life. After driving 1,362 miles and meeting with hundreds of students and members, I find myself filled with joy. From playing Brain-Games with Area 31 to sharing laughs around an early-morning breakfast at Danville, I could not have asked for a better week filled with better people. I’m especially thankful to be reflecting and writing this from my parents’ kitchen table after sharing these special memories with them. Life is so good!


There were eight whole pages of writing that I documented throughout FFA Week, so I opted to save us all a little time and only share the basics, but if there’s anything that I learned and would like to share about this special time in our lives, I encourage you to live in the present and count all of the joys that each day brings.


With an Abundance of Love,

Kelby Roberts, State President