BERGEN — Five students from Byron-Bergen High School had the opportunity to travel to Indianapolis for the 94th National Future Farmers of America Association convention and exposition.
Rachel Best, Maddie Pimm, Alex Schuck, Gracie Erin and Brendan Pimm joined students from more than seven FFA chapters statewide for the trip.
FFA is a youth organization for students interested in agriculture and leadership. Through hands-on agricultural-based educational experiences, members develop the leadership tools and skills that translate into real-world personal and professional success.
This year’s event took place in October and over 56,000 members attended.
There are many activities at the convention, including a career and college fair focused on agriculture, the judging of national finalists for various career and leadership development events, the inauguration of the FFA officers of the following year and the presentation of FFA diplomas to new recipients.
“My favorite part was the sessions,” said Pimm, a senior at BBHS. “A lot of FFA members were coming up and talking about the impact of the FFA on their lives and it was really eye opening.”
Rachel Best, a BBHS senior, first learned about the FFA while attending animal science camps at Genesee Valley BOCES and had no idea it would lead her to not only meet people of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, but to be invited to serve as New York State’s delegate to the convention.
“It was really cool getting that experience, working with the state officers and doing the business part of FFA,” Best said.
“I never realized how necessary agriculture is and I think without FFA I would never have learned,” she continued. “We are not just cows and plows, we are a great leadership organization. Before FFA, I wouldn’t even want to talk to you. Now I can’t stop talking.
“One of the big parts of FFA is that we get leaders in agriculture,” said Jeff Parnapy, FFA advisor and instructor in agroscience and FACS at BBHS. “Maybe you are a shepherd and you own these sheep, but you are going to have to be that leader who has to speak to your industry. Maybe that means becoming a member and leader of your local agricultural bureau, or maybe advising your legislators.
Parnapy’s participation in the FFA allowed him to qualify and receive a $1,500 Agricultural Science Curriculum Scholarship to be used for a CASE Food Science course in the summer of 2022, which will benefit the program. BBHS Agriscience. The scholarship was sponsored by Farm Credit East.
While in Indiana, students were also able to visit the Cleveland Museum of Science and visit Fair Oaks Farms. The trip was organized by NYS FFA alumni and supporters.
The FFA National Convention and Exhibition takes place every year and registration is open to all FFA members. In 2022, the event will take place from October 26 to 29 at the same location.