FFA more than just being a future farmer

COLUMBIA CITY — For several years now, the members of FFA have been trying to relay the idea that the organization is not just about being a farmer any more.Last week’s presentation to the Whitley County Consolidated School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees was no exception.Following opening ceremonies conducted by the group’s parliamentary procedure team, members of the organization made a presentation called “Who Are We?”Jesse Kimmel, with the help of several members from Columbia City High School, gave the board a brief history of the organization, including a timeline that showed the name change that occurred in 1988 when it went from Future Farmers of America to National FFA Organization.“There are three things you need to have a successful agricultural education program,” Kimmel said.Those elements are an FFA program in the school, a classroom/laboratory and a supervised agricultural experience.“FFA is a huge deal to us,” said Kimmel.“They take what they’ve learned and apply it out in the real world.”Kimmel said the most important thing learned by students in the program is how to set the ultimate example.“For these kids to go out and succeed in the real world, they’ve got to be a leader,” he said.“It is the largest youth organization in the world.”The opening ceremonies were conducted by local President Jackie Leeuw; Tyler Johnson, vice president; Kennedy St. George, secretary; Kelzie Sheetz, treasurer; Eryn Schinbeckler, reporter; Kayla Rothgeb, student advisor; and Emily Dziabis, sentinel.Kimmel was assisted in his presentation to the board by St. George and Thad Werstler.Kimmel said today there are more than 525,000 FFA members and 7,500 chapters in the United States.In addition, he said the Columbia City chapter was one of the first 12 chapters organized in the state.