This Week’s Iowa FFA Conference Could Be the Biggest Ever

(Radio Iowa) One of the nation’s largest state gatherings of agricultural education students is getting underway at Iowa State University. Scott Johnson, executive director of the Iowa FFA Association, says it’s gratifying to see how membership in the organization has continued growing in recent years, and this 95th annual Iowa FFA Leadership Conference at ISU’s Hilton Coliseum promises to be the biggest yet.

“I think we could be expecting an attendance record here for our conference this year,” Johnson says. “I don’t know if 7,000 is possible, but I think we’re in striking distance of that, and that would be around 200 more than our previous attendance record, which was set in 2019.” FFA members can range in age from 12 to 21 and the statewide membership numbers recently reached a milestone, which Johnson says they’ll tout during the event.

“We’re really excited to welcome 258 of our 260 FFA chapters, based on our online registration numbers,” Johnson says. “The 19,000 members actually represents record membership that we just set about a month ago and we’ll recognize the 19,000th member on stage as part of the conference on Tuesday.” While there’s a focus on farming, Johnson says the organization makes a positive difference in students’ lives by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. He says the conference provides ag-ed students the chance to take part in a wide range of career development and leadership skills-building events.

“We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 different competitive events in a variety of structures, some things that are speaking-based, some things that are skills attainment, assessment and judging-based,” Johnson says. “What we would consider non-competitive events involves a career show that’s coordinated by the Iowa FFA Foundation. Some FFA chapters in attendance will go on tours.” The conference opened Sunday in Ames and will conclude Tuesday night. The Iowa FFA Association was organized by delegates from 23 schools at Iowa State College on May 17, 1929.