Farming is a very big part of our country’s history, and with an ever-growing population, it’s even more important to feed the people today. With numerous technological advances in the field of farming, it’s important future generations are shown all that the field has to offer, and how different it is than the vision most conjure up in their heads of simply dragging a plow around behind a tractor and raising a few cows.
Enter the National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Convention and Expo, which begins October 29th and runs until November 1st. Over 60,000 young people are expected to attend the event being held in Louisville, Kentucky at the Kentucky Exposition Center. This convention will certainly boost the local economy – the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates it will bring nearly $40 million into the community, mostly from hotels, restaurants, and local attractions. This event targets teens in grades 7 through 12 who plan to pursue ag-business careers.
More Than An Expo
Sure, the young aspiring farmers will bounce from trade show booth to trade show booth featuring the latest in farming technology, farming organizations, and much more, but there’s so much more than that. Students representing the FFA will perform over 16,000 hours of community service during their time here as well, for charities such as the Dare to Care Food Bank, YouthBuild, and Brightside.
After a long day of volunteer work and perusing trade show exhibits, attendees are treated to concerts both nights (Justin Moore and Easton Corbin on the 29th and Scotty McCreery and Danielle Brandbery on the 30th) as well as a dance, the chance to compete in a talent show, and a rodeo.
Attendees will also get the chance to tour local farms and other agriculturally related jobs to see firsthand day-to-day operations. In-house, the students will be able to attend various workshops of interest as well as be inspired by top leaders in the agricultural industry, like CEO of Tyson Foods Donnie Smith.
The FFA Convention and Expo provides a unique opportunity for attendees – to fully immerse themselves into all things past, present, and future in their specific career-of-interest. Students simply find their career pathway – Animal Systems, Agribusiness Systems, Food Products and Processing Systems, Natural Resource Systems, Environmental Service systems, Power Structural and Technical Systems, Plant Systems, or Biotechnology Systems – and then browse trade show exhibits related to that specific career path. In this way, they get the most out of their experience at the trade show rather than spending all of their time seeking out relevant trade show booths.
There’s something for former FFA members, too – the Alumni Nation area of the Expo. Businesses selling agricultural products and services exhibiting at the expo can visit Teachers’ World to network with the teachers interested in the latest and greatest to show their students. A Collegiate Connection area brings agri-education options directly to the students interested, while Auto World showcases motorsports and racing industries.
Exhibits of Note
The Hall of States exhibit is a place attendees can display their home-state pride. The exhibits are on display for all attendees, made by various FFA chapters, alumni groups, or state groups and sponsors to showcase the unique offerings of each state – crops, marketing opportunities, environmental issues, conservation efforts, technological innovations regarding agriculture, native foods, and how the FFA helps.
Have a good laugh listening to author and humorist Jane Herlong, and get inspired with motivational speaker Nick Vujicic, born with no arms or legs.
If it’s agriculturally related, it can be found at the FFA Convention & Expo.