The warm haze of summers past lingers in the air as National FFA Organization Central Region Vice President, Abrah Meyer reflects on her childhood home in Readlyn, Iowa. “I loved growing up in Iowa on the farm. Summer days were filled with mowing the lawn and picking up rock in the fields. And the stereotype is true … there is a lot of corn in Iowa!” It’s these strong roots that helped develop her love for the agricultural community in elementary school. She recalls, “There were FFA members who served as mentors in a program called Partners in Active Learning Support (PALS). They helped us with homework, played games with us and I thought, ‘I want to do that someday too!’ I joined my freshman year and was hooked.”
Abrah’s early curiosity is the kind of spirit FFA was hoping for when it formed in 1928. As a response to young men growing disinterested in farming, then-Virginia State Supervisor of Agricultural Education, Walter S. Newman, proposed creating an organization that offered “a greater opportunity for self-expression and for the development of leadership.” The idea was first presented at a Virginia vocational rally in April 1926, but gained national exposure two years later at the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, Mo., where 33 students from 18 states assembled to create the Future Farmers of America. Later renamed the National FFA Organization to reflect the industry’s increasing diversity, it was this initial platform that sparked a powerful partnership between FFA and John Deere, which has flourished for more than 73 years.
Making A Difference
Throughout the years, FFA has continued expanding its reach by launching powerful activations, such as Feeding the World – Starting at Home, an educational initiative teaching students about the effects of hunger. With help from over 146,000 people, the FFA Hunger Heroes Challenge helped donate over 3 million meals last year. It’s this active participation and giving spirit that keeps FFA growing and expanding year after year.
Since her high school days, Abrah’s known that she wanted to be involved in the agricultural community, hoping to shine a light on rising global issues. After joining FFA her freshman year, she was elected last year as the Central Region Vice President at the 88th National FFA Convention & Expo. Throughout her run, she’s traveled nationally and internationally to different schools, spreading the importance of agricultural education by leading workshops and delivering speeches. Earlier this year, she traveled to a Future Farmers of Japan chapter and also visited Washington D.C. to meet with key legislators and Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. She says, “A phrase we use is ‘We Are FFA’… It’s a place where everyone can belong, be united, and be a part of something bigger than all of us.”
While she’s still on campus at Iowa State University, Abrah stays active as a member of both the National Agri-Marketing Association and Block and Bridle Club. And after graduation, she wants to continue living out the important skills she’s learned with FFA. “I plan to take a job focusing on Commodity Merchandising or Logistics and Operations … I would love to work through geopolitical issues in different countries.”
A peak into Abrah's day-to-day life speaking at events, enjoying her friends and family and being an FFA member.
From October 19-22, 2016, the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo will take place in Indianapolis, Ind., where FFA members across chapters will gather to participate in networking opportunities and debates, and 3,780 American FFA Degrees will be awarded for high achievement. As an added incentive, students are encouraged to make an important pledge, #mission2050, as a means to help double world food production. By the year 2050, it’s projected that there will be another 2 billion people in the world to feed, so now more than ever, the agricultural industry needs dedicated people working to make a change.
As Central Region Vice President, Abrah will serve at National Convention on the National Officer Team, alongside her fellow vice presidents and president, Taylor McNeel. She reflects, “I can’t wait to see members whom I’ve met throughout the past year and reconnect. Plus, National Convention is in Indianapolis where I attended my first convention. It will really bring this experience full circle, one last time.”