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  • Writer's pictureG. Huddleston

FFA Convention Report| September 2012

FFA activities and achievements were in the spotlight at the Sept. 12 meeting of the Agribusiness Industry Network.

The group heard from a member and advisor of a nationally award-winning Kentucky FFA chapter, then listened as Louisville visitors bureau staff members previewed the move of the national FFA convention back to the Derby City in 2013.

Bland Baird, a 35-year veteran vocational agriculture teacher at Spencer County High School, and Susan Mann, member of the school's national champion dairy judging team, reported on the team's visit to Scotland this summer to represent the U.S. in international competition.

Ms. Mann, a University of Kentucky freshman, said the trip, which included visits to various European cities following the international contest, was an incredible experience for her and her fellow team members.

AIN had contributed to the chapter's fund-raising appeal, as had individual members of the organization. Baird praised the generosity of all the donors which helped defray the sizeable cost of travel and lodging for the group.

For Spencer County FFA, the title of national champion dairy judging team was its third, all under the guidance of advisor Baird. He said FFA is a solidly respected organization at the school, and incoming high school freshmen vie for coveted slots on the dairy judging team and other FFA group competitions.

To appreciate Spencer County's three trophies, it is the only Kentucky chapter to win even one national FFA team judging event. Not bad for a small county in the shadow of the Louisville urban center.

If Spencer or any other Kentucky county were to compete in a national FFA event in 2013, the achievement won't involve much travel. That's because the national convention, which called Louisville its home for 7 years before moving to Indianapolis, is coming back to Louisville next year.

Destiny Monyhan and Cinnamon Jawor with the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau reviewed plans with AIN members for the event's return. Blue-jacketed FFA members from across the country are expected to travel to Kentucky in numbers exceeding 50,000 for 2013, '14 and '15, they noted.

FFA's future plans call for the convention to rotate every three years between Indianapolis and Louisville. On that schedule they would be expected to return in 2019.

The Agribusiness Network will be closely involved with a relatively new event on the convention agenda, the National Day of Service. The concept mobilizes hundreds of volunteers from the thousands of delegates for service projects at local charities, schools or other public venues.

Former AIN Chair John Colliver is heading up the FFA committee whose charge it is to identify worthwhile projects needing assistance and assign manpower and other needed logistics to provide the needed services.

The convention is scheduled Oct. 30-Nov. 2, 2013, and delegates will utilize downtown hotels, The Yum Center, the convention center and the Kentucky Expo Center for various events. Given the size of the group, hotels from Central Indiana to Elizabethtown, and east to Frankfort are all expected to house FFA members and advisors.

Gary Huddleston | AIN Chairman

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