Each year if possible, I attend this event and cover it for Farm World. I am always quite amazed and impressed to meet the FFA officers and youth like Summer Robbins, the newly crowned 2014 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen and see their poise and ease with the public.
Ms. Robbins was only crowned in January of this year and she has already stood on podiums and on this day stood up quite calmly in front of over 60 farm groups, an array of legislators without batting an eye.
Cody Carman, FFA State Secretary and August Schutter, FFA State Reporter took a few minutes to talk with me about their year of serving as officers between graduation from high school and attending college. They said the communication skills learned in FFA and the connections made would aid them all their lives. August Schutter explained that anyone that has been a part of FFA is tied together. “Everyone has an FFA story. Once you go through FFA, you have a passion for the organization.”
The FFA officers besides traveling around the state had also just returned from South Africa with stories of farming conditions overseas. I was never an FFA member, but if I could go back in time I think this would be one of the first organizations I would sign up for without delay.
For anyone wondering what the day is all about, Jennifer Tirey of the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) explained that the goal is; “To educate the General Assembly on the importance of the agricultural economy not only with corn and soybeans, but also food processing. We are the first in food processing in the nation and we want to make sure they see that.”