Planning is in full swing for 87th ‘invasion of the blue jackets’

For the past 87 years, Missouri FFA members have come together for two days each spring to celebrate their success in agriculture.

Over 7,000 members across the state will meet in Columbia, Missouri, on April 16 and 17 to participate in Career and Leadership Development Events, learn about current issues in agriculture and congratulate outstanding members with awards. The two-day event would not be possible if not for the hard work of the Missouri FFA Association staff, event coordinators, state officers and volunteers.

Ron Scheiderer, State CDE Coordinator, has organized the events for the last six years. He said each year the event coordinators have different challenges to overcome, but no matter what, they keep making improvements.

Student FFA members participate in forestry and agronomy knowledge competitions, livestock judging and other events to prepare them for their future careers. The events are meant to benefit the students and contribute to their future success.

For Cole Edwards, 2014-15 State FFA President, it is his first time being a part of the decision-making and planning process for the convention.

“I’m ready to see all the members again and see all they have accomplished over the year,” Edwards said.

Edwards said the officer team started to plan small details for the convention almost a year ago. Last April, they were brainstorming important values to the FFA Association when they came up with two key words: Opportunity and Success.   Those two words inspired them to create the 87th Missouri State Convention’s theme: “Show Me Opportunity, Discover Success.”

The most exciting part of convention for Edwards and Scheiderer is to watch the students be rewarded for their accomplishments and successes. Both emphasized how much the Missouri FFA Association staff works to put on the event and how thankful they are for all of the volunteers.

“The success of the state CDE is not me, it is the University of Missouri staff volunteering out of the goodness of their hearts,” Scheiderer said.

Coordinating this large event is not an easy job, and it does not happen overnight. The support of the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources and its associate dean, Bryan Garton, is tremendous.

“It is a big joint effort, when everyone does their job it makes it a success for the students,” Scheiderer said.

The 87th Convention planning is almost complete. In April, the campus will flood with corduroy blue jackets anxious to hear Edwards tap the gavel to begin the Convention’s Opening Session.

A full list of the career and leadership events are on the Missouri FFA Association’s website at

Robyn Eschenbrenner

About the Author Robyn Eschenbrenner

My passion for agriculture and the University of Missouri began at an early age. I was raised by two MU graduates on a row crop and livestock farm outside of Jamestown, Missouri. We raise primarily field crops, Brangus cattle and pumpkins. While my hometown, Jamestown, may not be marked on most maps, it helped shaped me into who I am today and it is a place where I am proud to call home. Growing up in the small town lifestyle allowed me to be involved in everything from sports to FFA. I fell in love with advocating for agriculture and being able to teach others about the importance of the industry.