News Convention Inspires FFA Students to Innovate 

Convention Inspires FFA Students to Innovate 

Convention Inspires FFA Students to Innovate 
July 2, 2024 |

By Maggie Edwards 

Over 1,500 high school students arrived in downtown Montgomery June 5 ready to showcase a year’s worth of education, achievements and innovation.

The Alabama FFA Convention theme, Innovate, built on the foundation laid by the 2023-2024 Alabama FFA state officer team. Led by President Kayden Ray, the six-person team pushed 32,000 Alabama FFA members to reach for the sky this past year.

“Our main motivation for the convention theme was to highlight and recognize FFA members who continuously innovate within the organization and raise it to new heights,” said Ray of Benjamin Russell High School. “My teammates believe the future of agriculture is bright, and we’re excited to watch the members grow.” 

That future is especially bright for future farmers like Blount County’s Davis Jackson.

Jackson, 18, takes pride in his effort to push agriculture forward. His agricultural service project placed first during convention. 

“State convention was an amazing time for me,” Jackson said. “Winning first place was special. I grew up around FFA. Convention is a great opportunity to connect with new people. It feels like a family reunion.”

Blount County’s Davis Jackson played Farm Facts Frenzy during the Alabama FFA Convention career fair with Federation Young Farmers Division Director Hunter McBrayer. Jackson recently graduated from Douglas High School and participates in Blount County Young Farmers programs.

The recent Douglas High School graduate is also a member of Blount County Young Farmers. 

“I got involved with the Alabama Farmers Federation when my agriscience teacher, Mr. Andrew Brock, invited me to a meeting,” Jackson said. “My dad is a member of the Blount County Farmers Federation board, too. I love being a part of both FFA and Young Farmers.”

Federation Young Farmers Division Director Hunter McBrayer said it’s encouraging to see the sea of blue corduroy jackets flood the Capital City. 

“Our goal is to support FFA members,” McBrayer said. “We hope to empower them with leadership skills and opportunities in agriculture as they prepare to transition into adulthood.”

Jackson is one of those bridging the gap, McBrayer noted. 

“Once students graduate high school, we want them to know they have a place in Young Farmers,” said McBrayer. “Davis is a great one to follow.” 

From left are 2023-2024 Alabama FFA state officers CJ Thompson, Goshen High School (HS); Andrea Roberts, Centre HS; Kayden Ray, Benjamin Russell HS; Emily Grace Rezek, Opelika HS; Jayden McMillian, McKenzie HS; and Liz MacAloney, Dale County HS.

McBrayer met students from across the state during the convention’s career fair. The Federation’s Farm Facts Frenzy trivia game quizzed members on their agricultural knowledge.

More convention activities included awarding honorary Alabama FFA state degrees to individuals who have provided outstanding service to the organization. Two Federation staffers — Amanda Butts and Phillip Johns — were honored.

Additionally, leaders were recognized during the Alabama FFA Foundation Wall of Honor Luncheon. Honorees were the late John Beasley, Ralph Hall, Dr. Eric Mackey, Buster Padgett, John Russell Poe and Randy Shuffield. 

“FFA has been a part of my life for decades,” said Mackey, the state superintendent of education who accepted the award while sporting his retired FFA jacket. “It teaches valuable leadership and workplace skills to students. I’m excited to join the FFA Wall of Honor. “ 

View Related Articles