Maine FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) sent States Officers, President Nickie Deschaine and Secretary-Treasurer Ryder Brewer, to participate as delegates to the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo on October 25-30, 2021 in Indianapolis.
Last year’s National Convention was held as a virtual-only event due to COVID-19. Maine FFA State Advisor from the Maine Department of Education, Doug Robertson, accompanied the delegates who are both currently juniors at Central Aroostook High School in Mars Hill.
This year’s convention was attended by over 60,000 FFA student members, guests and advisors. Delegates participated in committees tasked with charting the future course of the organization, with each committee coming to consensus on recommendations to present to the entire delegate body for a vote.
During their time in Indianapolis, Maine’s delegates met other delegates from the rest of the United States, attended inspirational Convention sessions and toured the Expo that featured representatives from the agriculture and natural resources industry, as well as a number of colleges and universities. Special in-person speakers included Courtenay DeHoff, “Fancy Lady Cowgirl,” Joe Hogsett, Mayor of Indianapolis, and the National FFA Officers. Video welcomes were provided by Vice President Kamala Harris; Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education; and Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
As well as gaining committee experience, making new friends, and exploring Indianapolis, Maine’s delegates had the chance to attend the “World’s Toughest Rodeo,” held in the coliseum on the Indiana State Fairgrounds. State FFA President Nickie Deschaine observed that her travel to Indianapolis represented the furthest west she had yet been. She also commented: “Words truly cannot describe the overwhelmingly amazing feeling of seeing all the blue jackets filled by people who are just as passionate about FFA as I am!”
Delegates returned to Maine with many new ideas on how to best serve their 400-500 Maine FFA members. Maine FFA serves students grades 7-12 who are enrolled in classes/programs related to agriculture and natural resources. Schools with gardens and greenhouses may qualify to establish chapters.
For more information on how to initiate a Maine FFA chapter, please contact: Doug Robertson, Maine FFA State Advisor, Maine Department of Education, (207) 624-6744, firstname.lastname@example.org.