February 3, 2018
By Grant Sanchez
Once the snow finally starts to melt and temperatures start to rise, Indiana FFA members will be in full gear preparing for a huge season of the year: district conventions!
The 12 district officer teams across Indiana will host their conventions for FFA members to compete in multiple leadership development events. My favorite LDEs are demonstrations. Students demonstrate an agricultural “how-to” practice in front of a panel of judges.
My freshman year, I demonstrated “How to Assemble a Hydroponics Unit” with my partner at the District II Convention. While that topic was a part of the ag mechanics demonstration area, other topics may stem from plant and soil science, animal science, food science, natural resources and many more.
These conventions provide many other avenues for members to show their leadership skills. Students of all ages love competing in public speaking, whether it be prepared or extemporaneous. My eighth-grade year I delivered a prepared speech in front of a panel of judges that revolved around the 2013 Super Bowl commercial “So God Made a Farmer.” I ended up winning the LDE — only because I was the only one entered, but it still counts!
Be a winner
In extemporaneous public speaking, students draw three topics from a list of agricultural issues and then choose one to research for 30 minutes and formulate a speech. Middle school members and freshmen may choose to memorize and deliver the FFA Creed. Here’s a special shoutout to Blayne Vandeveer from Tri-County FFA for winning the national creed speaking LDE this past year. It’s the first time someone from Indiana has won National FFA Creed Speaking!
Other LDEs students may be interested in are quiz bowl, leadership ambassador, job interview, scrapbook and chapter exhibit. Winners of each district advance to compete at state convention at Purdue University in June. Check out inffa.org for more information about these LDEs!
District conventions aren’t only for FFA members. Community members who are interested can judge these competitions. Contact your local FFA chapter for information.
Good luck to all FFA members competing at their district convention this year!
Sanchez is the Indiana FFA state sentinel.
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