CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The 2021 Indiana FFA State Convention kicks off today in Indianapolis.
Due to COVID-19 regulations at Purdue University, this is the first time in 92 years the convention will not take place at Purdue.
Instead the convention is taking place at three different locations in the Indianapolis area, including the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
"In all of our 92 years as a state association we have had state convention at Purdue University,” said Indiana FFA State Officer Luc Sproles. "We're looking forward to putting our own unique spin on state convention and just adapting to the new space that we have and seeing what it's going to be like at the state fairgrounds.”
While the main location will be the Indiana State Fairgrounds, workshops, banquets and community service will happen at Conner Prairie and the state-level competitions will happen at Hamilton Southeastern High School.
“It's similar to a business conference in a sense where we will bring together all kinds of people,” said Sproles. “We have leadership development workshops and then students actually a big thing for them is competing at state convention.”
Competing at the FFA State Convention is what FFA members at Carroll High School have been preparing for.
“We compete against other teams and have the chance to go to nationals if we win,” said Carroll County FFA member Grace Ayers. “It’s just all out a fun competition.”
Ayers is part of the vet science program, where she is practicing to become a veterinarian.
“One of the practicums that we will possibly have to do is bandaging a dog,” said Ayers. “I want to become a veterinarian, so it’s definitely one of my favorite competitions.”
FFA members Ashlan Kingery, Allison O’Brien and Rylie Lanum have also been getting ready for their competitions this week.
Kingery is in the Horticulture and Animal Science Category. She will work with her partner to give a presentation to the judges.
“So pretty much with demonstrations you’re just educating the judges on a specific topic,” said Kingery. “To me personally, urban horticulture is a big thing, so that’s kind of how we came up with the idea.”
Allison O’Brien has been preparing to compete in Quiz Bowl and Ag Sales.
“This is actually our first year as a chapter competing for ag sales,” said O’Brien. “We are trying to sell to our judges herbicides and pesticides for a golf course.”
Carroll County FFA member, Rylie Lanum, decided to focus on the public speaking side of the FFA State Convention competitions.
“I wrote a speech about a five-page long speech and I had to memorize all of it,” said Lanum. “I’m going to give it to the judges.”
After having a virtual convention last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sproles is excited for what’s to come.
“I think last year was a really innovative solution that we came up with for the time we were in and the resources we had,” said the FFA State Officer. "But we're all just really excited to see FFA go back to normal and get to gather in-person.”
The Monday-Thursday convention is filled with a variety of events. Sproles says it’s important to have the convention to honor FFA members throughout the state.
“The whole goal is to bring together members to celebrate their achievements,” said Sproles.”It helps build their personal growth, leadership skills and then also prepares them for career success."