This rumor didn't stay a rumor very long. Just one day after the rumor mill dropped some key names as players for important positions in Indiana FFA, press releases and a release by the person involved verified the information, making it no longer a rumor. Lisa Chaudion, long-tile director of the Indiana Young Farmers Association and an employee of the Indiana Department of Education, has accepted the position as director of the Indiana FFA Foundation.
Chaudion has served in her current role for two decades, leading the Indiana Young Farmers through a difficult transition period. As members of the original young farmers grew older, she helped devise ways to keep older members still involved, while figuring out how to appeal to new groups of young farmers. Many of the Young Farmer members today are ag business people, although the group still has a large number of actual farm families involved.
Building off of vocational agriculture, the IYFA was a prime leadership organization in the 1980's, when many former FFA members found a niche. The organization struggled both in Indiana and nationally once that first wave of members grew older. However, membership is again on the upswing, Chaudion says. The group is organized in chapters, including a chapter at Purdue University. Most chapters meet monthly for business, educational, and social activities.
Recent changes have made a difference in how IYFA will be advised. When the Indiana State Department of Agriculture took the Indiana FFA Association director's position under its wing in August, the Indiana Young Farmer Association responsibilities came along with it to ISDA. The FFA director position at ISDA is funded through federal money, not state funds.
However, Chaudion remained an employee of the Department of Education, and had many other assignments not related to young farmers or agriculture. A second position to help Steve Hickey, the person hired by ISDA as FFA Association Director, has been advertised but not yet filled.
Chaudion grew up as Lisa Moss, graduating from Clay City High School, where the late Gerald Runyon taught FFA with a passion for several decades. She was elected the first female Indiana FFA state president in 1985. Girls were not admitted into FFA in Indiana until 1970. This year's officer team includes six girls out of seven officers, including the president, Morgan Dawson, Scottsburg.
Congratulations to Lisa Moss Chaudion on her new role.