College of Agriculture

Historic Election Caps off Exciting National FFA Convention for Chico State Students

Announced on: Thursday, Jan. 04, 2018

Students at National FFA Convention

Ten Chico State students traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana Oct. 25–28 for the 2017 National FFA Convention, where agriculture education major Breanna Holbert was elected president of the 650,000-member organization. The group also included Damian Arceo, Brett Baker, Dana Brady, Ryan Crookham, Kelley Duggan, Ernesto Gonzalez, Courtney Jacobson, Savannah Jakell, Saul Reyes and agriculture education professor Bradley Dodson.

With more than 67,000 in attendance, the National FFA Convention is the nation’s largest annual youth organization gathering. Chico State agricultural education students who attended had the opportunity to experience the highest level of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization, which they will one day help advise. It also provided the main stage for student’s accomplishments to be recognized. Brady, Duggan and Crookham each received their American FFA Degree, which is awarded to the top one percent of FFA members nationwide. Chico State student Taylor Lacey and Megan Banwarth also received their degrees but were unable to attend the conference. The American FFA Degree is the organization’s highest honor, recognizing members who excel in community service and agricultural involvement through supervised agricultural experiences.

Nov. 29 marked a monumental day for sophomore Holbert. After months of preparation that lead to an evermore stressful week of interview panels, speeches and self-evaluations, Holbert was elected the 2017–18 National FFA president. She is the first African American female to be elected to the office of president by the national association. Holbert and her officer team will lead the organization’s 650,000 members in 8,568 chapters over the next year.

Ernesto Gonzalez, a sophomore agriculture education major, credits the conference with giving him new insight to how the convention operates so that when he is an advisor for high school FFA members he can effectively guide his students. Gonzalez also acknowledged the quality speakers, such as Jon Petz who he describes as motivational and entertaining.

Senior agriculture education major Brett Baker described the conference as a great opportunity to network with current agriculture instructors across the nation as well as industry representative at the trade show.

“Attending this convention provided me with an entirely different point of view into the reality of the FFA and agriculture education. I can honestly say I came home with a new sense of energy and excitement about agriculture education,” Baker said.

For students who may consider attending National FFA Convention in the future, junior Savannah Jakell highly recommended the trip. The agriculture education major said that she will definitely attend again but wants to organize her plan to optimize her time attending more beneficial workshops and industry tours.

“[The trip] inspired me to pursue my American FFA Degree and helped me confirm my drive to be an ag teacher. It reminded me of why I chose to pursue agriculture education,” Jakell said.