More than 65,000 members of the National FFA Organization (formerly Future Farmers of America) gathered in Louisville, Ky., for the 2015 National FFA Convention & Expo, breaking prior attendance records.
Representing John Deere as the National FFA Foundation’s longest-running sponsor, Cory Reed, senior vice president, Intelligent Solutions Group, and chairman of this year’s National FFA Sponsors’ Board, announced Deere & Company’s Stationed By the Plow endowment at the Chairman’s Reception and Dinner.
“Stationed by the Plow seems to be a fitting name for this endowment,” said Reed. “Just as a plow is pulled to prepare the soil for planting, so must leaders of today work to prepare the leaders of tomorrow so that they are ready to make a positive difference in their communities and beyond.”
The endowment will help FFA develop the next generation of leaders in agriculture and beyond. Reed spoke about the importance of education and developing leadership to create solutions to feed the world’s growing population, and challenged them to amplify Deere’s contribution with a matched pledge of their own.
“I encourage you to think of a leader who has had an impact on your life,” said Reed. “I’m sure you’ll agree how critically important it is that we do all we can to develop future leaders who will develop new strategies and technologies in creating and sustaining a safe, abundant, and affordable food supply.”
Students Solving Future Problems
Deere employees also participated in the convention, judging Career Development and Proficiency competitions, speaking at events, and working in the company booth at the convention expo.
Steve Conrad, IT project manager, application solutions delivery, is a member of the John Deere FFA alumni group, and participated in this year’s convention on behalf of Deere & Company.
“FFA students today are helping solve important problems affecting everyone’s lives, not just focusing on sows, cows, and plows. I’ve recently judged a wide range of FFA research projects and publications, from comparing cost-effectiveness of biomass and solar panel energy generation to comparing chemical-based and milk-based fertilizers. FFA students are truly the future of agriculture and the future of our country,” Conrad said.
FFA is the premier agricultural educator in American schools today, where more than 600,000 members learn the self-confidence, teamwork and critical-thinking skills to continue their education and enter the workforce. FFA aims to develop young peoples’ potential for leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education to build future leaders, and responsible citizens and stewards of our precious natural resources.