FFA News

National FFA awards 155 Honorary American FFA Degrees


Last week during the 95th National FFA Convention & Expo, the organization recognized 155 individuals with its Honorary American FFA Degree. This award is given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment.

The Honorary American FFA Degree is an opportunity to recognize those who have gone beyond valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students, inspiring confidence in a new generation of agriculturists. Members of the National FFA Organization’s board of directors approved the nomination.

This year, Syngenta not only partnered with FFA to lay the foundation for equity, diversity, and inclusion strategies with the National FFA Organization, but had two employees exemplify the qualifications to receive Honorary American FFA Degrees: Dawn Dietz and Tim Hoberty.

Image by Heidi Crnkovic

Dawn Dietz, seed sales service operations with Syngenta was an FFA member whose SAE project focused on sheep production. However, she eventually found her footing in public speaking despite being an incredibly shy teenager. Dietz says that FFA really helped her to find her spark. 

“FFA has been a part of my life forever. My dad was an ag teacher, I grew up with it. FFA really shaped my career and bolstered my passion for agriculture and helped me to determine my career path,” says Dietz. 

The communication skills that I Dietz gained as a member of FFA led her to a career that’s taken her from Illinois to Minnesota, a few places, and then back to her home state in Illinois. The skills she learned in interviewing, understanding, and presenting projects have helped her to find success in her positions with Syngenta.

“I was an extremely shy kid, and somehow, when I got into high school, I decided I wanted to do public speaking. I jumped right into CREED speaking and public speaking. The events and leadership gave me the spark to develop public speaking skills. FFA instills a professionalism that you can’t find anywhere else,” Dietz stated. 

Along with Dawn’s receipt of an Honorary American Degree, Tim Hoberty from Syngenta was recognized as well. As an exemplary FFA alumni, Hoberty has helped to judge many national competitions and hosted FFA students from around the country during the FFA Alumni and American Degree reception during convention. 

The National FFA Organization works to enhance the lives of youth through agricultural education. Without the efforts of highly dedicated individuals, thousands of young people would not be able to achieve the success that, in turn, contributes directly to the overall well-being of the nation.

Honorary American FFA Degree recipients receive a plaque and medal, and their names are permanently recorded as recipients of the highest FFA honor. For more information, visit the FFA Honorary American FFA Degree website.


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