AUDUBON — Ten members of the Audubon FFA joined more than 70,000 alumni members, FFA student members and supporters from across the country at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis on Oct. 29 – Nov. 1. Audubon FFA members Collin Bauer, Jocelyn Chambers, Garrett Christensen, Aleah Hermansen, Kali Irlmeier, Brandon Jensen, Peyton Meaike, Kennedy Rohe, Kate Tessman, Hannah Thygesen, along with advisor, Mrs. Brittany Elmquist were in attendance. The National FFA Convention is the largest annual youth organization gathering in the nation.
Audubon FFA members had the opportunity to tour the following agricultural companies and other special places:
Kinze Manufacturing – Members toured the plant and visited the Innovation Center. They learned about the more than 200 agricultural patents and the family basis of this business – inspiration, imagination and hard work that has made modern agriculture what it is today.
Tuttle Orchard Greenhouses – Members learned about a family farm orchard business that has been in production for over 90 years. Tuttle Orchard Greenhouses raises over 25 different kinds of apples and 50 varieties of produce. This business has diversified in many ways and is now a leader in agritourism.
Umbarger Show Feeds – Members had the opportunity to visit this fourth generation family owned and operated show feed mill in central Indiana. This mill is a full circle model from beginning with the agronomy of the seed they sell that is then used in the show feed that goes to livestock producers in over 40 states.
The National FFA Center – This was stop was a great experience for members to see the headquarters and history behind The National FFA Organization. Audubon members especially liked viewing the one millionth FFA jacket made that belonged to Audubon’s Ed Wiederstein from 1964 that is on display at center.
Indianapolis Mother Speedway – This was the final tour that took members around the oval track where they saw the Pagoda, victory platform, garage area and allowed them to “kiss the bricks!” Members visited the museum that had a variety of racing, antique and classic cars.
While at the convention members visited with numerous agricultural businesses and exhibitors about career opportunities and products along with learning about possible majors from colleges and universities from across the United States in the National FFA Expo. This expo featured industry leaders in all areas of agriculture, food science, natural resources and education. This year members saw the Audubon FFA Chapter highlighted at the GoServe Global Sukup Safe-T Home that was a part of the expo through their Living to Serve trip to Haiti as well as their flood relief efforts in Hamburg. Members also had the opportunity to attend leadership and personal growth workshops.
Audubon FFA members heard from National FFA Officers as they gave reflections and retiring address from National FFA President Luke O’Leary. The chapter also heard an inspirational message from keynote speaker, Mr. Bob Goff. Bob Goff is the New York Times Best-Selling Author of Love Does and Everybody Always, the Honorary Consul to the Republic of Uganda, an attorney, and the founder of Love Does—a nonprofit human rights organization operating in Uganda, India, Nepal, Iraq and Somalia. The sessions were full of FFA recognition and highlighted opportunities for members that took place in the Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts NFL team.
A highlight for all in attendance was watching Old Dominion perform live just for members in Bankers Life Stadium, home of the Indiana Pacers NBA team! Members also enjoyed attending the Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo. The rodeo included top professional cowboys in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding as well as the only professional trick riders from across the United States. New friends were made as Audubon members traveled with other local FFA chapters including, Exira – EHK, Riverside and Harlan.