While the 2021 Illinois FFA Convention was presented as a hybrid format, FFA members were still able to elect new state officers in person at the Illinois State Fairgrounds or virtually on June 10.
Elections began with 10 candidates for five offices, and over 350 delegates gathered in the grandstands or online to elect the following new state officers:
- President — Adam Loker, Wayne City FFA
- Vice president — Jaton Shaffer, Blue Ridge FFA
- Reporter — Lauren Mohr, Normal West FFA
- Secretary — Gracie Murphy, Macomb FFA
- Treasurer — Kara Freebairn, Serena FFA
In 2020, the convention was hosted completely in a virtual format; however, the Illinois FFA Association and 2020-21 state officer team were able to host many sessions in person. While a virtual business session was held on May 28, in-person district award sessions took place on June 1, 4 and 9. Also, stars over Illinois were recognized at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on June 8.
“This is an amazing feeling,” said Adam Loker, after receiving the majority vote for president. “I look forward to a phenomenal year serving as your state president.”
Loker said he looks forward to being a mentor to other FFA members. “It is all about the people,” he says. “I want to make those one-on-one connections with FFA members just like I had with a state officer.”
Shortly after, Jaton Shaffer was elected the 2021-22 Illinois FFA vice president.
“I am so excited for this next year,” he said. “I can’t honestly say how much this means to me.”
Shaffer says he is eager to hear FFA members’ stories. He wants to understand what inspires them to be a part of FFA.
Lauren Mohr, the newly elected reporter, said she is also excited to make connections with FFA members across the state and serve as a mentor.
“I am super-excited to tell members a message of you can be exactly who you want to be,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what your background is or who you are. Just remember to be you and anything can happen.”
Unlike the rest of the team, Gracie Murphy, the 2021-22 Illinois FFA secretary, did not grow up around agriculture. However, involvement in FFA sparked her passion for the organization and agriculture education.
“This past year, we have been able to connect with people virtually,” she said. “Being here at the state convention and seeing all of these members is getting me excited because I know we will have many opportunities to make connections.”
Kara Freebairn, state treasurer, rounds out the new state officer team with enthusiasm for the year ahead.
“I am over-the-moon speechless. I am so happy to be elected with such a great group of individuals,” she said. “I am excited to start traveling more and meeting more people.”
The 2021-22 Illinois FFA state officer team will hold off on their collegiate plans for a year. This will allow them to fully dedicate the next year to serving FFA members across the state of Illinois.