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State ag director proud of Missouri FFA chapters, members

Missouri Department of Agriculture FFA emblems
EARNING HARDWARE: Missouri FFA chapters and their members worked hard and garnered several awards during the National FFA Convention. Their commitment and passion will drive the future of agriculture.
Ag Matters: Youth offer bright future for state’s ag industry.

Nearly 70,000 FFA members and guests converged in late October for the annual National FFA Convention. Hours before, Missouri FFA members loaded up their corduroy jackets, study materials and teammates to head to Indianapolis in hopes they would reach the national stage.  

Agriculture education is the heartbeat of many rural schools. Through classroom instruction, Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE) and FFA, students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to reach “premier leadership, personal growth and career success” (the FFA Mission). The pinnacle for members, competing at the National FFA Convention, is a long journey — one that teaches students the value of leadership, hard work and perseverance before they even arrive.

With nearly 26,000 members, Missouri FFA is a leader among states for both membership and student development. As the mom of one FFA alumna and one member, I can personally speak to the leadership skills and professional development a student can harvest from their time in FFA.

Here are some of the accomplishments of Missouri FFA members, by the numbers:

1. Austin Stanton of the Centralia FFA Chapter was awarded the prestigious American Star Farmer for his part in the Stanton Brothers diversified farm. The American Star Farmer is awarded to the FFA member who demonstrates the top production agriculture supervised agricultural experience in the nation.

518. The Show-Me State had a standout year at National FFA Convention, bringing home 518 American FFA Degrees this year, more than any other state. To provide some context: all 50 states combined for 4,255 American FFA Degrees, and Missouri was awarded 12% of that total. This is an honor reserved for the best of the best and achieved by less than 1% of FFA members.

1. The Marshall FFA Chapter was named the top chapter in the nation for the second time in a row, and the third time in the last four years. The Paris FFA Chapter was also named top 10 in the nation.

31. Missouri FFA had 31 chapters receive a 3-star rating, the highest rating a chapter can receive, for their work in their classrooms and communities.

10. That’s the number of Missouri chapters that placed in the top ten in their respective Career and Leadership Development Events, including the Columbia FFA Chapter and Owensville FFA Chapter that took first place in horse evaluation and floriculture, respectively.

4. Proficiency Awards are designed to encourage students to develop specialized skills that they can use in a future agriculture career. Missouri had four students that placed first in their proficiency award area: Jacob Blank of the Richland FFA Chapter, equine science placement; Hannah Strain of the Rolla FFA Chapter, forage production; Grace Box of the Neosho FFA Chapter, specialty crop production; and Brendan Kleiboeker of the Piece City FFA Chapter, swine production placement.

The future of Missouri agriculture is in great hands. I am so proud of each and every Missouri FFA member for their dedication to our future. We will rely uniquely on the individual skills that you are developing to feed, reach, connect and empower a growing world.

Chinn is the director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture and a hog producer from Clarence.

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