Although some younger students may not be taking Purdue President Mitch Daniels’s advice to find “summer jobs detasseling corn or baling hay,” students in Indiana Future Farmers of America are practicing their agricultural skills over the summer.
FFA is holding its state convention at Purdue through today, which consists of different sessions to learn more about agriculture while also participating in community service. You’ll be able to discern its members walking around campus in their telltale blue corduroy jackets.
As part of their community service, members of the Indiana FFA made tied blankets for the Lafayette Transitional Housing Center. In another session, they donated canned goods to Food Finders.
With FFA offering many opportunities for students to be involved in the community, many said the organization has brought them leadership skills and prepared them for their careers.
“I think leadership skills are a big thing because this year, I’m the president,” said Cody Krogman, a senior in Castle High School near Evansville. “I’m gonna have a lot of responsibility.”
Many students in FFA joined to get a head start on life after high school.
“I heard of all the opportunities that (FFA) can give you and it can help you start your career,” Peters said.
Savannah Bordner, an Indiana FFA state officer, explained that her position requires her to defer her freshman year of college. She will be attending Purdue in the fall with a dual major in agricultural business and agricultural communications and a minor in political science.
“It started kind of right here, seven years ago,” Bordner said. “I came to my first state convention and I saw the state president at the time, giving her retiring address up on stage in Elliott Hall of Music. I was like, I want to be up there someday doing that.”
Bordner said Indiana FFA has almost 13,000 members. On a national level, FFA has about 650,000 members with 52 associations, including all of the states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
“You do not have to come from an agricultural background to be an FFA. In fact, a good majority of our members are not,” Bordner said. “But in 1989, they changed Future Farmers of America to just the National FFA organization, to be more inclusive for members and students across the nation.”
As some students don’t come from an agriculture background or plan on pursuing farming, some have not kept up with Indiana crop issues but are aware of general problems such as rainfall this spring delaying planting of seeds.
Bordner comes from a farming family and has seen the effect of delayed planting herself.
“We know there’s people here that didn’t come today because they’re still in the fields farming,” Bordner said.
“It’s always talked about in my community back home where farmers are always chomping at the bit, wanting to get in the field,” Bordner said. “Here we are in June and only some of them are just now getting finished or only halfway through.”
Although many farmers are still struggling, Bordner said many farmers in her community understand that farming is unpredictable, but “if there’s a will, there’s a way.”