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FFA State Officer Summit: Advocacy, education, connectivity

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FFA members from around the nation gathered in Washington, D.C., this past week for the 2022 FFA State Officer Summit. Focusing on advocacy and the impact an FFA member can have worldwide, members met with their state’s senators and congress members as well as U.S Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack during the three-day advocacy training experience.

During his talk with FFA officers, Vilsack said, “What I’ve noticed about FFA leaders is that you’re all optimistic, that you’re hopeful, you’re enthusiastic, you’re passionate about the future, and that’s the kind of attitude that I think we have to get back, and I think in agriculture, there’s never been a better time.”

Throughout the three-day event, state officers discussed the importance of the three-circle model of agricultural education, the continuing growth of state and national FFA organizations, and FFA members’ ability to graduate job-ready as they leave high school.

Officers learned the importance of advocating with clear and consistent messaging through workshops, listening to stakeholders, and exchanging ideas with officers from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Workshops also presented information on cornerstone topics such as the 2023 Farm Bill, agricultural teacher shortages, and the FFA caucus.

As with any FFA event, some of the top highlights included the connections members were able to make with each other. While traveling to see the capital’s monuments, officers also learned more about the history that connects our nation.

Here’s what some of the attendees had to say:

“If I had to pick, it would have to be the people. All of the state officers were so welcoming and kind. We all do FFA so differently, but we are all state officers for one reason: we have a passion for agriculture and want to serve our members the best we can.” — Morgan Craven, New York State FFA officer

“Washington D.C. was a week full of reflection, leadership training, and making new friends from around the country! There’s no better feeling than standing in our nation’s capital and advocating for the agricultural industry. The people I met at the State Officer Summit are just amazing! I can confirm that each and every state is in good hands with their officer team.” — Wisconsin FFA Officers

“Traveling to our nation’s Capitol for the very first time was in itself amazing, but to truly take part in the National FFA State Officer Summit made the trip even more remarkable. It was so rewarding (and eye-opening) to connect with and to learn the stories of members from all across this great nation, to further our understanding of how we can effectively serve our associations, to meet and discuss policy with numerous leaders, and to visit memorials and monuments in honor of some of the most self-sacrificial leaders of our country whose legacies still stand solid today.

Here’s to an eye-opening week that’s taught me to further exemplify understanding, gratitude, purpose, courage, and advocacy.” — Casey Montgomery, 2022-2023 Kentucky FFA Capital City Vice President

“The National Officers advocated for a single message throughout the summit, PERSPECTIVES. This once in a lifetime opportunity taught me exactly that. This world is full of perspectives. Walking around in a town with a population 2233.5 times the size of my hometown is quite the experience, but that doesn’t diminish the message I have, nor does it deny the message of someone with a different background or situation. In fact, it’s the difference in perspectives that brings prosperity.” — Joe Lackman, Montana State FFA President

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