FFA Convention 2023 at UMPI

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 4:54 PM EDT
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The annual FFA convention was held at the University of Maine Presque Isle campus. Students had the opportunity to compete and attend workshops. NewsSource 8′s Cecilia Morin was there and has the story.

”Honestly when i first heard about FFA, I didn’t know what the programs were in it but once I heard about ag mechanics that really got me excited about it I love working with my hands especially the part about horse evaluation” says Kameron Rackler of Caribou.

Rackler is one of about 200 students participating in the annual 2 day FFA convention. According to Emily Doughty, the FFA Liaison, at this convention, students from all over the State gather to learn about different careers in agriculture and compete against each other in categories like agriculture and natural resources.

“We have workshops lead by industry professionals we have tours on site and off site which has been really wonderful for students to see the opportunities and agriculture in the county. They have the opportunity to really network with other industry professionals they have the chance to fine tune their skills that are very specific with career opportunities that they are seeking and they have the opportunity to connect with their peers in really unique ways. We have a broad opportunity for pretty much any student who may be interested in competing so we have creative speaking which is something they are memorizing, we have ag mechanics where students are really out welding and having those opportunities we have tractor driving, we had vet science other competitions where ag sales where they were selling products that they designed where so they are learning entrepreneurship skills i think anything you can think of in the field of agriculture we had going on in the past two days.” says Doughty.

“Don’t let our agriculture background make you shy away from our organization because agriculture encompasses so many different aspects so don’t be shied away from agriculture because you can find your place here in the FFA.” says Delaney McKeen of Mars Hill.

“I did the natural resources which was pretty fun we made a cool little project that was really fun we got to do some stuff over moose over 50 acres of land and that was really fun. " says Rackler.

Students had hands on learning opportunities geared toward agricultural careers. Careers, organizers hope will encourage students to pursue in the county.

“One thing unique about FFA it is a student lead organization so our students are really running the show and being apart of FFA provides opportunities for students who may be interested in agriculture but maybe they are looking for something that is going to support their leadership development skills.” says Doughty.

“It is super important for somewhere like Aroostook County because I mean agriculture is one of our biggest things around here and something that everybody either knows someone involved in it or is involved with it themselves so its a really important organization that really stresses the importance of the future of agriculture” says Nickie Deschaine, Maine State FFA President.

”It helps us get more involved in agriculture if you don’t come from an agriculture background” says Lane McCrum, Maine State Vice President.

“It has been a long journey within my life I was born and my father was an agriculture educator and I was born on my family farm and it just went from there. It has been a huge story for my family both my sisters were state officers and my older sister also served as a national FFA officer and it’s from the community that I found within FFA that I wanted to pursue this title and be able to create community for our members across the country.” says Andrew Seibel, National FFA President.

The two day event wrapped up Friday with an awards ceremony.

Cecilia Morin NewsSource8