By Julia Baratta, Freelance Writer
MICHIGAN — FFA offers young people a variety of opportunities ranging from on the job training to learning skills important for future career choices to running for political office.
Each of the hundreds of FFA chapters throughout the United States have an officer team who conducts meetings, plans activities, and leads the younger members in their group.
Members have other leadership roles they can try for at the regional and state levels with the highest FFA offices being at the national level.
To be nominated to represent a state as a National FFA officer nominee, the interested members must have certain requirements determined by their state nominating committee.
In addition, they must go through interviews, prove they are able to facilitate workshops and give presentations, and prepare for the national officer tryout process.
For Annalee Witte of Indiana and Loren King of Michigan, the journey is completing itself the weekend before the National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis, IN from October 25 – 28.
Annalee Witte hails from the Eastern Hancock FFA chapter where she began her FFA career in her freshman year. She feels the change that was made when she transferred to a school system that offered an FFA chapter has made all the difference in her life. Witte would like to help students across the country discover the opportunities that FFA has for them.
“I want every student to have the opportunity to be transformed by FFA and the agriculture industry,” she said. “I am running for National FFA Office to serve FFA members. I want to provide inspiration and direction for the organization.”
Witte was told stories about National FFA officers by her parents and truly believes that national leadership comes with a servant’s heart.
She began to meet these young people at the local level as well as the state and national levels with her continued involvement.
Witte realized the impact that these members were having on other students and decided she wanted to be one of those who are making a difference for agriculture and the FFA.
“Try everything you can. Take every opportunity,” she shared to inspire younger members.
“Remember it doesn’t matter what office you hold. It matters what you’ve learned and the memories you’ve made.”
Her future plans include completing her degree work in Agriculture Economics with an emphasis on Sales and Marketing from Purdue University and work for an agricultural company in their marketing department.
Loren King served at the Branch Area Career Center as the vice-president of the Coldwater, MI chapter. He became inspired to run for national office when he met a national officer at the Michigan Region 2 Officer Camp.
King didn’t expect to meet the young man, much less talk to him, but the officer made his way to his table and it made all the difference for King.
“I was still very new to my FFA career and did not expect to even get to meet the visiting National Officer. I was, of course, surprised when he came right over to the table my Chapter Officer Team was at and started talking to us, just as normal as could be,” he said.
“He was so passionate about life and so encouraging towards everyone reaching for their goals, that I knew right then and there I would be running (for national FFA office) to try and have the same impact.”
King found his passion while participating in the FFA program and has incorporated it into his life goals and career choices.
He would like other students to combine their interests into the FFA experience and bring new ideas to the organization. King is running for office to encourage young people to be creative and passionate about the world around them in a multitude of ways and technologies.
“Definitely do not be afraid to take your passions from outside of FFA and bring them into your contributions to the organization,” he recommended to other members.
“Your skills might not be something that anyone else in the chapter even has, or you could find members with similar interests and forge friendships that will last a lifetime.”
King’s future goals include working with a company that develops precision technology, like drones, for agricultural use.
He would also like to help legislators develop public policies that empower society to feel more creative and comfortable with the agricultural industry.
King is pursuing a double major in Non-Traditional Agricultural Education and Public Policy with a minor in Precision Technology Management at Michigan State University.
The Ohio representative is Mary Buehler and no personal information was available at press time.
National Future Farmers of America officer nominees
By Julia Baratta, Freelance Writer