Across the Editor's Desk: Ag's my bag!
Every year I attend National FFA Convention, and every year I report back the same takeaway: There is no better event to fire up pride for the industry of agriculture. That’s because you are surrounded at the Convention in downtown Indianapolis by more than 50,000 high-energy, enthusiastic young people who are excited for agriculture and its future.
The enthusiasm is contagious and spreading. This year the National FFA Organization set a new membership record of 520,284. The previous record was 509,735 set in 1977. Females are now 38% of the total and hold more than 50% of state leadership positions.
Most members say they desire careers in agriculture. Four members who have already achieved outstanding success in farming and ranching were selected as the finalists for 2010 American Star Farmer before the Convention. I was delighted once again to be among the judges with the difficult task of choosing one as Star Farmer.
The winner was Adam Venteicher of Pierce, Nebraska. The other finalists were James Lyons of Georgetown, Kentucky; Rachel Glascock of Pilot Point, Texas; and Dylan Stichert of Marshfield, Wisconsin.
Teachers Influence A Lifetime And Beyond
Like athletes with their coaches, members credit their advisers for significant impact on their success in FFA and as people. Recently I read a quote from educator Henry Adams who said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
The influence certainly will not stop at one generation for my favorite ag educator who left the classroom to successfully lead agricultural education at the highest national level over the past 26 years. Larry Case will retire January 1 from his position in the Department of Education as National FFA Adviser and principal adviser on ag education.
Farm-reared in Missouri, Case was focused as a leader in developing programs and teachers to help students achieve their potential. Serving with him on several committees, I admired his leadership style of asking the right questions, listening well, and building consensus among people with passionate opinions. He is highly respected and popular. His influence on people, FFA, and ag education will continue for generations. I wish him a joyful retirement.