By Bethany Starlin, OCJ FFA reporter
The Ohio FFA State Convention serves both as a celebration of the successes experienced over the last year and a kickoff for what’s to come for Ohio FFA members. For 11 individuals, it also marks the beginning of an incredible year-long journey.
Those elected to serve on the Ohio FFA State Officer Team take on the task of representing the more than 25,000 Ohio FFA members. This group of ambassadors works to influence the next generation of young leaders through chapter visits, leadership nights and a variety of conferences. In addition to working directly with FFA members, the team networks with sponsors and supporters, sharing the story of Ohio FFA with those they meet.
Why did you join the FFA?
My mom is an agriculture educator and FFA advisor, which meant I had a front row seat to the avenues within agriculture and opportunities that the FFA held. I knew that my personal growth and agricultural knowledge could grow exponentially through this organization, and that is why I chose to join the FFA.
—Luke Jennings, State Vice President at Large
My journey in FFA started during my middle school years. At my school, FFA is integrated into our program so every student is a member. I chose to be active because I wanted to have a place to prove my own leadership abilities and grow more as a person. FFA ignited that through my supervised agricultural experience, career development events and the officer teams I have served with.
—Landon Shelpman, State Vice President at Large
What are you most looking forward to during your year as a state officer?
I am looking forward to conducting chapter visits and making genuine connections with members during my year as a state officer. I aspire to serve as a role model and inspiration for members across the state.—Katie Oestreich, State Treasurer
I am most excited for meeting Ohio FFA’s diverse membership and seeing how FFA in other parts of the state differ from where I came from.
—Benjamin Bitner, State Vice President at Large
I’m looking forward to the many chapter visits and leadership nights that we will be participating in. These events give us officers the ability to personally meet and interact with members from all over the state. In both chapter visits and leadership nights, we will be facilitating workshops that offer growth in many different essential life skills and experiences.
—Dalton Mullins, State Vice President at Large
How do you feel the FFA has allowed you to become a better leader and what skills have you gained by being a member in this organization?
I learned that I can be myself and to be confident in what I believe in.
—Shayden Heiser, State Vice President at Large
The FFA has allowed me to become a better leader by showing me that failure is inevitable but it is what you do with failure that counts. No matter the outcome of my FFA endeavors I have always strived to never let failure stop me from excelling within the organization.
—Kennedy Short, State Sentinel
I always preach to others the leadership and career success skills you can learn throughout FFA and I start with mentioning the Job Interview CDE. Through my involvement and success in Job Interview, I was able to interview countless times for college scholarships and I received two full-ride scholarships as a direct result of those interviews.
—Aly Murphy, State Reporter
What is your Supervised Agricultural Experience?
I managed and owned my own rabbitry! Although I sold my rabbitry when I graduated high school because I was going off to college, I had over 400 rabbits at my peak. I bred and sold the kits to 4-H and FFA members as fair projects and for them to begin their own SAE’s.
—Aubrey Schwartz, State President
My SAE was a rental farm operation that I ran through my family’s farm. I rented 28 acres from our neighbor and raised both soybeans and corn on a yearly rotation.
—Graham Carson, State Secretary
My main SAE involves working on my family’s roughly 30-acre Christmas tree operation. I completed a wide variety of tasks from running the cash register, carrying trees, or decorating greenery items. Throughout the summer I can be found working at the Worthington Farmers Market selling the various produce my family produces.
—Hannah Saum, State Vice President