Hundreds of school buses and thousands of blue jackets filled Columbia and the MU campus on April 14 and 15. These buses and jackets contained high school students from around Missouri who came to attend the Missouri FFA Association’s 86th annual state convention.
John Tummons, agricultural education professor, has a critical role in assisting with this event.
“Each April over 10,000 students, teachers and special guests converge in Columbia for two days of leadership development, competition and networking,” Tummons said.
The approximately eight thousand FFA members participate in many events including leadership activities, career development events, award programs and convention sessions.
One way CAFNR students and faculty members play a significant role in the State FFA Convention is by assisting with the Career Development Events (CDEs) held at the convention. In addition, the event provides excellent recruitment opportunities for CAFNR.
“The State FFA Convention gives CAFNR faculty and staff an opportunity to work with future students who attend convention to compete against one another in agricultural Career Development Events,” Tummons said. “CDEs challenge students to practice and perform essential job-related agricultural skills needed in their future careers.”
This year 2,889 high school students competed in one of 16 Career Development Events hosted by CAFNR. These events are held on campus or in the surrounding community.
“All contests are held in just 24 hours, either on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning,” Tummons said. “This requires hundreds of CAFNR students, staff and faculty volunteers each year to help with registration, event setup and event scoring.”
The MU department of agricultural education and leadership coordinates all of the Career Development Events that the FFA students participate in during State FFA Convention.
Tummons sees his students in agricultural education leadership impacting younger students firsthand by helping out with State FFA Convention.
“Ag education and leadership student superintendents gain valuable knowledge about CDEs, working with teachers and volunteers, and coordinating student events, which will benefit them in their future careers as agriculture teachers,” Tummons said.
The theme for this year’s annual convention was “Grow Your Passion, Unearth Your Purpose.” Most of the sessions and meetings were held in the Hearnes Center — the first convention sessions in 1928, were held in Waters Hall on campus.
The whole Columbia community feels the impact of state convention as blue jackets fill restaurants, hotels and other attractions.
Beyond State FFA Convention, the Missouri FFA Association has 25,852 members. This ranks Missouri fourth in states for membership totals.
The Missouri FFA State Convention will be back in Columbia in April 2015. As The Missouri FFA Association keeps growing, so will State Convention.
To find out more about the Missouri FFA Association and the Missouri State FFA Convention, visit http://missouriffa.org.