“There are 350 members present madam president!” Stated the FFA Section 11 Secretary at the 2016 Western Illinois University (WIU) Greenhand Conference on Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 at Macomb High School in Macomb, IL. Western Illinois University had a record breaking attendance! Each year the Greenhand Conference is held for first year members to educate them on the opportunities that the FFA organization presents to its members.
To accommodate so many students, WIU’s Collegiate FFA (CFFA)/Post-Secondary Agriculture Students (PAS)/ Agriculture Education (AGED) Chapter had to call on students outside of their Chapter to volunteer.There were over 45 WIU students present to help. Many of these students were not an Agriculture Education major, but were students who had attended the WIU Greenhand Conference when they were in high school.
Students attending the Greenhand Conference got to attend four breakout sessions that focused on the theme of “Transform.” Students learned how to transform their leadership skills, responsibility, competition and also themselves. These themes translated into what the workshops were about.
- Transform Leadership into attending different FFA Conferences and Conventions in the State and Nationally.
- Transform Responsibility by creating and operating their own Supervised Agriculture Experience.
- Transform Competition during different career development events that showcase each students individual talents.
- Transform Yourself in the game of life through leadership skills taught throughout the FFA.
This year the WIU CFFA/PAS/AGED Chapter was able to partner with the Illinois Farm Bureau and provide each Greenhand and Advisor attending a t-shirt. They did this by providing a $1,000 grant to WIU and the CFFA/PAS/AGED Chapter. Without their sponsorship, this would not have been able to be completed. The Illinois Farm Bureau focus is to “Improve the economic well-being of agriculture and enrich the quality of farm family life” and is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Not only did the IFB partner with WIU, they also supplied the keynote speaker for the night. Mr. David Erickson, Vice President of Illinois Farm Bureau, is a proud alumni of 4-H, FFA and Western Illinois University. He encouraged students to “keep learning and work hard.” Mr. Erickson was very excited to be taking with the future leaders of FFA and the Agriculture Industry.
The National FFA Organization is a youth based organization designed for career and technical students in junior high and high school by focusing on the potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. To learn more about the Illinois FFA, click here.
My name is Martin Nall and I am a senior majoring in Agriculture Education at Western Illinois University. I call Camp Point, Illinois home which is about 20 minutes east of Quincy, Illinois. I grew up on and am still active in my family’s row crop and beef farm. My dad farms about 800 acres, has 70 head of cow-calf pairs and fattens about 90 head of calves each year. My mom is a CNA at Blessing Hospital in the Emergency Room. I am a 2013 graduate of Camp Point Central High school and a 2015 graduate from John Wood Community college.