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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

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.

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