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Idaho FFA celebrates 88 years of blue jackets

By: Erica Louder
Published in  on  May 14, 2019

TWIN FALLS – FFA students and supporters converged on the College of Southern Idaho campus April 3-6 to experience the 88th Idaho FFA State Conference. Blue jackets were seen all over Twin Falls and Idaho FFA members spent the week living out their motto – “Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, and living to serve.”

Members competed in career and leadership development events throughout the week and tested their skills in 15 different areas of emphasis, ranging from livestock evaluation to extemporaneous speaking.

In Idaho, there are 5,100 FFA members from 93 FFA chapters, taught by 195 agriculture educators.

Many of these members come from communities where their county Farm Bureau plays a role in their success, as Farm Bureau members regularly serve as mentors, judges, and supporters.

Here are the winners in each competition category:

  • Agriculture issues – American Falls FFA
  • Agriculture sales – Madison FFA
  • Conduct of chapter meetings – Fruitland FFA
  • Farm business management – Kuna FFA
  • Floriculture – Fruitland FFA
  • Horse evaluation – Nampa FFA
  • Livestock evaluation – Homedale FFA
  • Employment skills—Cassidy Plum, Meridian FFA
  • Nursery and landscape – Middleton FFA
  • Parliamentary procedure – Madison FFA
  • Prepared public speaking – Cade Brackett, Marsing FFA
  • Reporter’s scrapbook – Declo FFA and Cambridge FFA
  • Creed speaking – Brooklyn Lowe, Kuna FFA
  • Extemporaneous speaking – Jakeb Gerrard, Declo FFA

Besides the competitions that were held at the state conference, FFA members also participated in career success tours as they visited agriculture-based businesses around the Magic Valley, learning about the business of agriculture and potential careers in the industry.

They also attended workshops presented by current and past FFA members, including one hosted by Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. IFBF’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee Coordinator, Brody Miller, and YF&R State Committee Member, Melissa Durant, presented a workshop titled, “Continuing Your Lifelong Ag Journey Beyond High School.”

FFA members also spent a day giving back during the Idaho FFA Association’s 5th Annual Day of Service, donating their time at local organizations in the Twin Falls community.

The theme for this conference was “Find Yourself.” This message of self-development was emphasized within each conference session as motivational speakers and the state officers captivated the audience with authenticity and humor.

For many, the highlight of the conference was when FFA members walked across the stage to receive their state FFA degree, the highest honor the Idaho FFA Association awards its members. The degree recognizes the work of FFA members in their supervised agriculture experience or “SAE.”

The SAE involves real-world agricultural activities completed by students outside of planned classroom time. It provides a method for students to receive practical career skills in a part of agriculture in which they are interested. For many students, this may be a project they take to the county fair or summer employment, and for some, a full-blown business that they can scale beyond their high school experience.

The conference concluded with six FFA members being slated to be the Idaho FFA Association state officers for the coming year. These students were picked from a pool of 20 other candidates and went through four days of rigorous interviews. State FFA officers dedicate a year of service to the FFA as they travel the state and country motivating members and educating others about FFA and agriculture.

The Idaho FFA Association state FFA officers for 2019-2020 are:

  • President – Herman Roberts, Preston
  • Vice president – Shalani Wilcox, Madison
  • Secretary – Cassidy Plum, Meridian
  • Treasurer – Katie Hettinga, Kuna
  • Reporter – Sydney Plum, Meridian
  • Sentinel – Katy Doumit, Troy


What FFA members say

“FFA has taught me that being a leader is about serving the people around you; encouraging them and lifting them up. Leadership isn’t a rank or a huge position you are put in, I think it is a choice to see the position you are in as a chance to serve and inspire the people around you. Being a leader doesn’t mean that you never make mistakes. It means that when you make mistakes you acknowledge them, you learn from them, and you grow from them.” – Annalise DeVries, Cambridge FFA

“Agriculture is one of the largest and most important industries in the nation. The fact that the FFA offers high school kids the chance to be connected to it is incredible. Kids are taught that ag isn’t just farming. Ag is business, it’s biotechnology, it’s engineering. There is a place for everyone in the industry, and FFA members are able to successfully pursue a career with the information they’ve learned and the skills they’ve gained from their membership.” – Herman Roberts, Preston FFA

“As a bit of advice to new FFA members – take in every moment. You will meet some of the most amazing people. I have met people from all over the country that share the same passion for FFA and agriculture as I do, and those memories that I’ve made are unforgettable. You will learn more about yourself and how you fit into agriculture through your experiences. You will find yourself.” – Kiera Packer, Melba FFA

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