(08/23/23) BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana FFA is gearing up for an exciting school year after members wrapped up a busy summer that included officer training and a visit to the nation’s capital.
In July, Louisiana’s 10 state officers attended the national FFA officer summit in Washington, D.C., where they interacted with officer peers from throughout the country. State treasurer Cayde Gordon, of Florien, found the summit inspirational.
“Conducting Capitol Hill visits gave me experience and confidence regarding how to convey the message of agriculture to our elected officials,” Gordon said. “It showed me the importance of agricultural policy, especially the federal farm bill, and how these policies impact our state’s farmers, ranchers and other agriculture producers.”
During the trip, Louisiana officers were able to see the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery, tour museums, visit monuments and meet with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, congressman from Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District.
Upon returning home earlier this month, officers attended a training session at the Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center in Pollock. Parliamentarian Jillian Lantz, of Jennings, said it is crucial for officers to learn how to get the word out about the importance of FFA.
“We need our next generation of leaders and agriculturists to be skilled in spreading the message of agriculture and growing ag education,” she said.
The message seems to be working on a national level, with Inside Indiana Business reporting national FFA membership at an all-time high of 945,988 participants in 9,163 chapters, marking an 11% year-over-year increase as well as 168 new chapters. The national organization is based in Indianapolis.
Cade LeJeune, executive secretary of the Louisiana FFA Association, said things are looking up statewide as they are nationally.
“We are starting this school year with just under 13,000 FFA members and we expect to exceed that number by May,” LeJeune said. “We are chartering two new FFA chapters: one at Catholic of Pointe Coupee and one at Claiborne Academy.”
In the coming school year, the association plans to expand programming by implementing four area-level carpentry competitions and creating an ag communications internship in the state FFA office.
“We are also offering new scholarship and grant opportunities with our partners from Sunshine Quality Solutions, the Louisiana Forestry Foundation and CF Industries,” LeJeune said. “Ag education students will also be able to earn industry-based credentials in agricultural mechanics for the first time this year.”
For more information on Louisiana FFA, visit laffa.org.
Louisiana FFA officers visited the United States Capitol over the summer for the National FFA State Officer Summit. From left, bottom row, are Alyssa VanBlaricum, of Winnfield; Curstyn Oncale, of Thibodaux; and Jillian Lantz, of Jennings. Second row, Camille Sonnier, of Lacassine, and Ryleigh Shuff, of Elton. Third row, Cayde Gordon, of Florien, and Ellie Thames, of Mangham. Back row, Alexander Whalley, of Slidell; Alaina Lyons, of Central Lafourche; and Emilee Bullock, of Lakeview. Photo by Cade LeJeune/LSU AgCenter
Louisiana FFA officers visit with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise. Photo by Cade LeJeune/LSU AgCenter