FFA members from across the state gathered for the 88th Alabama FFA Convention June 8-10 to expand their vison for the future of agriculture and network with students, advisers, sponsors and guests.
The Alabama Farmers Federation sponsored a booth where visitors raced remote-control tractors to win sunglasses straps, water bottles, notepads and T-shirts. Alfa Young Farmers and Alabama Soybean Producers sponsored the shirts.
Students participated in workshops, toured sponsor booths and attended an address by American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall during the opening session Wednesday. During his address, Duvall urged students to focus on education and service to be successful young people in agriculture.
“There are hundreds of jobs in rural America waiting on you to serve your country, your community, the American people and the people of the world,” Duvall said. “We need smart, bright, educated, energetic, ready-to-work people to serve in the agricultural world.”
Brittney Sanders, an FFA student from Brookwood High School in Tuscaloosa, said the work ethic FFA taught her has provided countless networking, job and college opportunities.
“The most rewarding thing about FFA is that you see the fruits of your labor in everything you do,” Sanders said. “You see that your hard work pays off.”
Trenton Thomas, a student from Goshen High School, said the convention serves as a place to share ideas about the future of agriculture.
“I’ve made lifelong friends through FFA,” Thomas said. “I know the contacts I make here will be beneficial to me when I begin farming on my own.”
Federation Young Farmers Director Jennifer Himburg said FFA develops character and discipline in students that reassures her about the future of Alabama agriculture.
“State convention is one of my favorite memories as an FFA member,” said Himburg, a former Alabama and National FFA officer. “It offers an incredible opportunity for members to build friendships, strengthen leadership skills and participate in competitive career-development events. Experiences like these help students build a strong foundation for a successful future.”
Former Federation Executive Director Mike Kilgore was inducted into the Alabama FFA Wall of Honor during the convention. Kilgore resides in Dadeville and was nominated by the Federation and its past president Jerry Newby.
Other inductees include Randy Britnell of Arab; O.R. Dennis of Trussville; Gary Hall of Opp; David Stonebraker of Gadsden; Bruce Tidwell of Oneonta; and Randy Wilkins of Cullman.