By Melanie Orozco, State FFA Reporter
Forget about love! If anything is “in the air” it’s all things FFA—from leadership conferences to a National FFA Officer visit, and everything in between.
This month, our state officer team attended the last Made for Excellence and Advanced Leadership Academy conferences. Finishing the conference season in Ontario, Modesto, and Visalia, every moment was enjoyed and cherished among students, advisors, and State FFA Officers alike. “It was fantastic reconnecting with FFA members across the state that were met at the beginning of the year during chapter visit season,” remarked Brian Kavanagh, State FFA Treasurer. From leadership development to teamwork, FFA members discovered personal growth through this month’s conferences.
Earlier in February, the state officers, along with chapters in the Central Valley, had the opportunity to attend Modesto Junior College’s Agriculture Technology Seminar. We had the chance to hear from Karen Ross, the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, along with other industry professionals. Sitting on a student panel, State FFA President Abigale Jacobsen was able to share about the agriculture industry and all the opportunities it offers to young people. We were very fortunate to be hosted by Modesto Junior College and are thankful to have the opportunity to learn from the talented individuals who attended the seminar.
The team visited Tulare for the World Agriculture Expo. We were amazed by the vast connections and community that is provided by the agriculture industry. We especially enjoyed visiting with FFA alumni and friends who visited the FFA Foundation’s booth and made a donation for raffle tickets to win a 1952 Chevy Truck.
Our team traveled the state as part of FFA “Star Tours”—we visited students with exceptional SAE operations. While visiting members and learning about projects in every region of California, the state officer team had yet another chance to view the diverse agriculture in our state. Reviewing projects in categories of Star Farmer, Star in Agribusiness, Star in Agriscience, and Star in Placement, our team was engaged with student interaction and industry involvement for the month of February.
State FFA Secretary, Hunter Haslem, and State FFA Sentinel, Morgan Oliveira, along with many FFA chapters, welcomed our National FFA Secretary, Jessica Herr. Touring agricultural operations including Inglenook Winery, Long Meadow Ranch, Stemple Creek Ranch, a welding shop, and Hog Island Oyster Company had everyone in attendance fascinated. Hearing an inspiring keynote and workshop from Ms. Herr, our state officers and students from several North Coast Region Chapters, were left with several memorable messages including: “building longer tables, not taller fences,” and to “Dream B.I.G.”
Time has been ticking for this year’s State Officer Team, as final preparations are being made for the 95th annual State FFA Leadership Conference. Between retiring addresses, guest speakers, and entertainment, we are excited to see all of California FFA in Ontario, March 16-19. See you there!