Future presidents, governors and musicians are in Lubbock. Nearly 10,000 Texans are taking part in the state FFA convention at Texas Tech.
For years, FFA stood for Future Farmers of America. The letters now stand on their own, simply as the National FFA Organization, which is providing students with more than just agricultural education.
On the outside, it is roping skills. However, walk inside the United Spirit Arena at Texas Tech and some of our next business leaders, artists and teachers are already on center stage.
"There is so much more than just farming, people live in the metroplex area and here it's the biggest farming area, but the rest of Texas, they're like we live in the city," Janae Jones is the Region 1 FFA President said. Jones will soon be senior at Lubbock Cooper High School. Jones says over the years FFA has grown to more than just raising pigs and showing livestock.
"FFA teaches leadership, we do leadership development events and career events," Jones said.
"They give speeches on soil and water conservation, they speak on farms, they speak on energy, they speak on animals," Ryan Cooper, Lubbock Cooper High School Agriculture Science teacher said.
Cooper says FFA helps students develop skills for college and the workplace. "They learn how to speak, look at someone in the eye talk to them and that will help them in the future," Cooper adds.
It is a professional set of skills, that Texas Tech's former FFA member says still serves him today. "They have so many programs for these students to be involved with it doesn't have to be just showing an animal. It can be in chapter procedure, skills, there are all kinds of programs," Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance said.
All lifelong lessons, learned through speaking in front of thousands or stepping on the stage to accept an FFA award. At the same time, FFA inspires future leaders in the crowd.
"It's all about getting them pumped up for next year, and gets them thinking I want to compete in a contest or be a leader someday," Jones adds.
Former President Jimmy Carter, Former US Congressman Larry Combest and singer Willy Nelson all were once members of FFA. The convention wraps up Friday.
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