Last week during the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo, the organization recognized 116 individuals with its Honorary American FFA Degree. The Honorary American FFA Degree honors individuals who have provided exceptional service on a national level to agriculture, agricultural education, or FFA.
The individuals selected for this honor have served their community while also supporting the agriculture industry. For example, the National FFA Organization awarded Kathy Eichlin, head of Internal Communications for Syngenta Crop Protection in North America, and Robin Thomas, Early Talent Acquisition manager for Syngenta in North America,
Eichlin is recognized for her exceptional service on a national level to FFA in particular and agricultural communications an education more generally.
“I’m honored to be recognized by FFA, an organization that continues to shape and guide the future leaders of the agriculture industry,” Eichlin said. “When joining Syngenta 13 years ago, I became part of a family of passionate, hardworking and innovative people who strive every day to feed a growing world and support our ag partners in every corner of the world.”
Eichlin is a past Woman of the Year honoree by the National Association of Professional Women. She received a Gold Hermes Award for an Outstanding Internal Communications Campaign, the PR News National Award for Internal Campaign and Employee Relations, and a Ragan Communications PR Daily Award for Corporate Internal Communications Team Effort. Eichlin holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations, a master’s degree in organization communications and an executive leadership coaching certification. She is also a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the Ragan Communications Leadership Council Board.
Equipped with a dual passion for agriculture and the development of collegiate talent, Thomas has also been recognized for providing exceptional service on a national level to agriculture, agricultural education, and FFA. In her current role at Syngenta, she leads campus relations efforts to recruit college students for internships and graduate programs.
“In my role leading early talent acquisition, I serve as a brand ambassador,” Thomas said. “By sharing what the Syngenta story is and why I love working for the company, I’m able to help students prepare for and find careers. I can’t think of a better platform than FFA to support this objective. I’m grateful Syngenta provides me the opportunity to serve FFA, the organization that has given me so much.”
Thomas grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in southern West Virginia and was active in 4-H and FFA, serving as her state’s FFA vice president. She continues to volunteer with FFA; Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference; Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences; and the tri-societies — the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America.
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.