Seven members of Marion-Florence FFA were among 50,000 students, parents and advisers at National FFA Convention Oct. 19 to 22 in Indianapolis, Ind.
Corey Shields, Ericka Herzet, Clint Kroupa, Zac Lewman, Nick Meyer, Dylan Carpenter, and Landon Petersen represented the local chapter at the event. Marion-Florence FFA adviser Mark Meyer and Diane Carpenter served as sponsors for the trip.
On the way to the convention, the group stopped in St. Louis to tour the world headquarters of Monsanto, a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation and a leader in crop genetics research.
“We try to find someplace each year to tour, and to break up the trip,” Meyer said. “They did a nice job of showing the kids what they’re doing with DNA and gene splicing.”
Students learned about research conducted and toured Monsanto labs, growth chambers, and greenhouses used to develop plants that are resistant to herbicides, disease, and drought with higher yields.
The theme for the convention was “I Believe.” Members heard inspirational keynote addresses from Dave Roever, a Vietnam War veteran, and David Garribaldi, a 28-year-old artist nearing his goal of raising $1 million for charity.
Convention sessions included national competition award presentations and addresses from outgoing national FFA officers.
Marion-Florence FFA had extra incentive to attend this year’s award session to see one of their former members recognized.
“A special feature of this year’s convention was watching as Adam Cope was named runner-up for the national beef placement proficiency award,” Meyer said.
Students were also able to view exhibits and visit with potential employers and colleges at the FFA Career Show which featured more than 1,300 exhibitors.
Meyer has attended 22 prior FFA conventions, but this year for the first time he served as a room coordinator for proficiency competitions, in the poultry production placement category.
“I helped coordinate the judging,” Meyer explained. “You’re the superintendent of that area, and you ensure everything is fair.”
In addition to conference activities, members toured the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the National FFA Center while in Indianapolis.