By Makenna Mays
INDIANAPOLIS – The streets of Indianapolis are running blue for the National Future Farmers of America Convention, which started Wednesday and will wrap up on Saturday.
“We were given books to get signatures from every state,” said FFA member Tripp Johnson, whose signature blue and gold jacket was emblazoned with his home state of North Carolina across the back. “We’ve met a bunch of people from all over the country.”
FFA members from all 50 states have gathered in Indianapolis and are expected to deliver a $40 million economic impact to the community. The National FFA Convention, which draws more than 65,000 people to the city, will be in Indianapolis at least until 2024.
Johnson has been an FFA member for the past two years.
“Mainly because my sisters were both in FFA and they kind of drove me to do it and once I joined I became very passionate about it,” said Johnson.
FFA members in the halls of the Indianapolis National Convention Center.
Photo by Makenna Mays, TheStatehouseFile.com
FFA members have a full schedule which includes the national expo, held in the Indianapolis Convention Center, which allows companies to interact with the members and give advice for future agriculture related careers. Cummins Inc. and Ivy Tech Community College were two organizations present.
Vendors have also gathered at the convention center to sell FFA-shirts, jackets and other related gear, as well as meet all of the members.
Craig Battles, a former FFA member, has been selling candy with his business Ozark Delight Candy Company, at national FFA events for the past 20 years.
“We are here to offer our lollipops to the FFA chapters for them to use as fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for their club,” Battles said.
Battles believes that FFA is important and a great melting pot that draws youngsters from all over the country with a shared interest in agriculture.
“Our first business was a small family farm and we do a lot with vocational education and feel very strong that is a great and big part of our future as a country,” said Battles.
While Johnson is not entirely sure of his future plans, he is currently thinking about a career as an agriculture teacher.
“You learn a lot of leadership skills when you go to conferences and things like that, so it’s easier to talk to people,” said Johnson.
The National FFA Convention will conclude on Saturday with the election of the 2017-2018 National FFA Officers.
Makenna Mays is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.