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National Convention
   

2017

On October 24-28, three members of the Black River Agricultural Education program traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana for the 90th National FFA Convention. Accompanying them on the trip were the Buckeye, Loudonville, Riverview, and Ashland FFA Chapters. Throughout the National Convention over 75,000 FFA members, advisors and guests were in attendance.

 

The group started off their trip with a stop at Ohio’s Freshwater Fish Farm. The family owned farm is home to Ohio’s largest indoor fish hatchery. The students had a great time hand feeding the perch, petting the sturgeons and holding the turtles and salamanders. That evening the group arrived in Indy to compete in the National FFA Invitational Quiz Career Development Event. The CDE tested each member’s knowledge of the FFA’s history and foundation. The senior team consisting of Hannah Abfall and Callee and Cori Aviles earned 12th place in the nation. The teams did a great job and proudly represented the Black River FFA in a national competition. The evening ended with a unique Italian cuisine at Buca di Beppo. 

 

On Wednesday the students attended the FFA career show, shopping mall, and leadership workshops. The aforementioned are sponsored by the National FFA Association. All members had the opportunity to attend more than 30 leadership workshops and an agricultural career and trade show. At the career show, hundreds of businesses and colleges were represented. Businesses such as Ford Motor Company, Carhartt, Lincoln Electric, Tractor Supply and John Deere gave demonstrations and had activities the students could participate in. FFA members were also able to talk to representatives from these companies and colleges and get a true understanding and appreciation about the different aspects and areas of the agriculture industry. In addition to the career show, the group attended the Opening Session with guest speaker, Laila Ali. She reminded everyone to plan for their future by setting goals and working to achieve them. The evening commenced watching “Ghost” at the Beef and Boards Dinner Theater.

 

On Thursday the group headed over to Lincoln Tech College to tour the campus. The students had the chance to visit the classrooms and shops and visit with the instructors and students. It was a great opportunity for a hands-on, educational experience. After the tour they headed back to the convention to attend the second session and hear the retiring address from our Central Region National FFA Officer.

      
That evening, Mrs. Howard and Callee attended the National Chapter Award banquet sponsored by John Deere. Callee accepted the award on behalf of the chapter who was recognized for their 2-Star achievement. The award was quite an honor as only the elite chapters from each state receive such recognition. Following dinner, the group returned back to the convention for the Jim Wand Hypnotist Show. Although nobody in our group made it on stage, it was a very comical performance. Friday morning began with a tour to Fair Oaks Dairy and Pig Farms. This amazing 25,000 acre (stretched over 11 different farms) farm milks 32,000 dairy cows and produces 2.5 million pounds of milk every day. That is enough milk for all of the people in Chicago and Indianapolis (8 million residents). Over 80 calves are born every day and we were fortunate enough to see two calves during our stop. In addition, the Pig facility was just as neat. We were able to see the vertical integration system where they started off in the gestation crates to nursery and ended with the commercial market hogs or those introduced back into the breeding program. The tour ended with lunch and an ice cream cone that were made with several of the products produced on the farm. On our way back to Indy we made a stop at Wolf Park. The park houses and cares for approximately 20 wolves. The park was established in 1972, by Dr. Erich Klinghammer. His goal was to learn about wolves’ behavior and communication by observing their interactions. They continue to use the wolves for behavioral research as well as working with universities and other countries to learn more about these beautiful animals. All of the wolves at the park were raised there and can be directly handled by the employees. The park added a different perspective to the traditional livestock animal science field. Friday evening ended at the World’s Toughest Rodeo at the Indiana Farmer’s Coliseum. The group was entertained by the best saddle bronc, bareback and bull riders around. On the way home, Saturday morning the chapters attended the American Degree session.      
 
The Black River FFA chapter enjoyed their days meeting new friends and making new memories that will last a lifetime. Overall everyone had a wonderful time, and they would like to thank the Black River School Board for allowing us to attend the trip. The following members attended the convention: Hannah Abfall, Callee Aviles, Cori Aviles, and advisor, Mrs. Howard.
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