Maine FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) sent state officers, President Nickie Deschaine and Secretary-Treasurer Ryder Brewer, to participate as delegates at the 94th National Convention and Exhibition of the FFA October 25-30, 2021 in Indianapolis.
Last year’s national convention was held as a virtual event solely due to COVID-19. Maine FFA State Councilor from the Maine Department of Education, Doug Robertson, accompanied the delegates who are both currently juniors at Central Aroostook High School in Mars Hill.
This year’s congress brought together more than 60,000 FFA student members, guests and advisers. Delegates participated in committees tasked with charting the future direction of the organization, with each committee reaching consensus on recommendations to present to the entire body of delegates for a vote.
While in Indianapolis, delegates from Maine met other delegates from the rest of the United States, attended inspiring sessions of the Convention, and toured the Expo which included representatives from the agriculture industry and the natural resources, as well as a number of colleges and universities. Special speakers included Courtenay DeHoff, “Fancy Lady Cowgirl”, Joe Hogsett, Mayor of Indianapolis, and FFA national officers. Welcome videos were provided by Vice President Kamala Harris; Miguel Cardona, US Secretary of Education; and Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture.
In addition to gaining committee experience, making new friends and exploring Indianapolis, delegates from Maine were fortunate enough to witness “World’s Toughest Rodeo” is held in the Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. FFA State President Nickie Deschaine noted that her trip to Indianapolis was the most westerly she has ever been. She also commented: “Words really can’t describe the incredibly amazing feeling to see all the blue jackets filled in by people who are just as passionate about FFA as I am!”
Delegates returned to Maine with many new ideas on how best to serve their 400-500 Maine FFA members. Maine FFA serves students in Grades 7 to 12 who are enrolled in courses / programs related to agriculture and natural resources. Schools with gardens and greenhouses can qualify to establish chapters.
For more information on how to initiate a Maine FFA Chapter, please contact: Doug Robertson, Maine FFA State Councilor, Maine Department of Education, (207) 624-6744, doug.robertson @ maine.gov.