Commentary: At state conference, FFA members gain insights


Issue Date: May 1, 2019
By Kendal Hickman
More than 6,500 FFA members attended the California State FFA Leadership Conference in Anaheim this past weekend.
Photo/California State FFA

The 91st annual California State FFA Leadership Conference, themed "Believe," was held at the Anaheim Convention Center April 25-28.

More than 6,500 FFA members participated in seven sessions featuring keynote speakers and awards along with educational workshops, agricultural tours, competitions and a career show. In addition, the 676 delegates representing 338 chapters conducted the business of the student-led FFA organization.

One of the highlights was the keynote from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who committed to fully fund and staff the six FFA regional advisor positions.

California Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross inspired students with her message about the bright future of agriculture.

Lupita Cortez Alcala, chief deputy superintendent of the California Department of Education, shared her story of hardship as she learned English in the U.S. and became the first Latina chief deputy superintendent.

USDA Rural Development Director Kim Dolbow Vann shared her message about agriculture.

Alex Sheen, founder of "Because I said I would," encouraged everyone to stick to your word and always follow through with your promises.

One session also highlighted that 2019 marked the 50th year of women being allowed into the FFA.

The keynote speakers and the 2018-19 state officers' retiring addresses were truly inspirational to hear.

During sessions, students were recognized for their outstanding work in numerous categories including speaking contests, proficiency awards, star awards and scholarships. More than $100,000 was awarded to students to further their education and projects.

Students had the opportunity to go to numerous types of workshops.

I attended "I Sure Hope It Does!" aimed towards helping students have a solid, seven-step plan for their future.

Another workshop, called "Rev up Your Resume," helped students learn interview tricks and how to clean up your resume.

I also enjoyed visiting the career show.

Thank you to all of the generous sponsors who helped make this conference happen and to our ag teachers and schools for supporting our attendance.

The 91st California State FFA Leadership Conference provided inspiration and challenged students to learn about agriculture and leadership.

We BELIEVE in agriculture!

(Kendal Hickman of Dixon FFA is a member of the state FFA Press Corps.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.