June 30, 2017
By Ellie Isbell
Above, the Federation’s Nate Jaeger times FFA students as they compete in a fidget spinner obstacle course at the state convention career show. The 10 fastest students won beach towels, and everyone who completed the course won a fidget spinner. Left, a student follows the Fidget Farm obstacle course.
Over 1,500 students and advisers gathered in Montgomery for the 89th annual Alabama FFA State Convention June 7-9.
Students competed in state career development events (CDEs),which the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Jennifer Himburg said teach students to get outside their comfort zones and hone critical professional development skills.
“The Alabama Farmers Federation has a long-standing partnership with FFA to invest in future leaders,” said Himburg, the Federation’s Young Farmers Division director. “Many of the students involved in FFA will go on to make valuable contributions to the agriculture industry.”
At the Federation’s career show booth, students maneuvered through a farm-themed obstacle course while balancing fidget spinners. Competitors with the 10 fastest times received Young Farmers beach towels.
Tyler Kelly, a recent graduate of West Morgan High School in Trinity, said FFA involvement shaped his high school experience and made an impact that will last many years.
“FFA opened my eyes to the jobs in agriculture,” said Kelly, a four-year FFA member. “So many jobs in America are related to agriculture, and I hope to one day be a part of the industry.”
In the opening address, National FFA President David Townsend encouraged attendees to cherish their uniqueness while analyzing advice from those who see the world differently.
“There has to be a balance between sharing our own ideas and seeking the viewpoints of others,” said Townsend, who is from Delaware. “Find someone who has an opposing viewpoint, and listen to what they have to say. Listening is learning.”
In addition to CDE winner announcements, students participated in convention workshops and explored the career show. New state officers were also inducted.
Inductees into the Wall of Honor included former Federation Executive Director John Dorrill, former Federation State Board member and DeKalb County Farmers Federation President Waymon Buttram, and Himburg.
The Federation’s Matthew Durdin and Leanne Worthington received Honorary State FFA degrees
State CDE winners will represent Alabama at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, in October.