September 2016
Youth Matters

FFA Sentinel: 88th Annual Alabama FFA State Convention

Bettering Communities and Growing Leaders

The 2016-2017 Alabama FFA State Officer Team members are (from left) Torran Smith, Hannah Black, Becky Hawkins, Ben Castleberry, Ethan Mobley and Sierra Goodwin.  

The 88th Annual Alabama FFA State Convention was held in Montgomery June 8-10, 2016. FFA members from across the state met in Auburn June 7 to compete in the state contests. Different Career Development Events, or competitions, ranging from Safe Tractor Driving to Prepared Public Speaking to Livestock Evaluation were completed that Tuesday. Auburn University teamed up with the Alabama FFA Association to help with the state contests.

On Tuesday night, FFA Night at the Biscuits sponsored by Golden Peanut and Tree Nuts was held. FFA members filled Riverwalk Stadium to watch the Montgomery Biscuits take on the Biloxi Shuckers, with the Biscuits coming out on top. The 2015-2016 Alabama FFA State President Wade Gossett threw the first pitch.

This year’s Convention was called to order Wednesday, June 8, and had an outstanding attendance of 2,020 members, advisors and guests. During the first day, members and guests listened to former University of Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle as he keynoted the first session.

During the first session, State FFA Advisor Jacob Davis gave his advisors challenge. Davis highlighted the outstanding chapters across the state that go above and beyond every day to better their chapters and more importantly their communities.

The 2016-2017 Alabama FFA State Officer Candidates were introduced. The candidates went through a series of tests, interviews and on-stage actions during the week of Convention. The series of interviews were based on knowledge of Parliamentary Procedure, FFA history and even the issues agriculture faces across the state of Alabama and across the nation. There were four candidates from each district, North, Central and South, making 12 candidates. Six candidates were selected Friday to lead the Alabama FFA Association for the 2016-2017 year.

  The Clay Central FFA Chapter displays the numerous banners earned at the 88th Annual FFA State Convention.

The Career and Trade Show opened Wednesday. The Show hosted many agriculture-related corporations, companies and universities from across the Southeast. The Alabama FFA Alumni Association also held a silent auction during the Show.

Starting in the second session, proficiency awards were handed out. The Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through their Supervised Agricultural Experiences, have developed specialized skills they can apply towards their future careers. Students can compete for awards on a local, state and national level in 47 areas covering Agriculture Communications to Wildlife Management to Swine Production.

Throughout the week, numerous awards for CDEs and other proficiency awards were handed out.

I asked FFA member Cameron Catrett, Brantley FFA Chapter, about her experiences at State Conventions. Cameron was recently elected South District FFA President. She has also competed and won the State Livestock Evaluation CDE and the State Creed Speaking competition.

"The energy at Conventions is what I enjoy most," Catrett said. "Being with over 2,000 others who are so different, yet so much alike, is amazing! There is an obvious bond that makes everyone feel welcome and reminds me that Alabama FFA is truly one of a kind."

When asked, "Why are you a member of FFA?"

"Growing up, I always heard about FFA," Catrett explained, "but did not realize how many opportunities there were within this organization. When I was finally able to join FFA in the seventh grade, I saw firsthand how I could help promote agriculture by sharing my experiences of growing up on a family farm and being active in my FFA chapter. The excitement I felt after attending my first FFA State Convention ignited a fire in me that still burns strong today."

Outgoing Alabama FFA State Officers (without jackets) pose with incoming state officers. From left are Sierra Goodwin, Wade Gossett, Ethan Mobley, Jordan Stowe, Ben Castleberry, Cassidy Catrett, Becky Hawkins, Anna Pollard, Hannah Black, Ivy Harbin, Torran Smith and Whitney Hamby.

The last session of Convention was held Friday and was sad in some cases but exciting in others. The 2015-2016 State President Wade Gossett gave his retiring address, and the six new state officers were elected and installed.

The Alabama FFA Association works to better agriculture, our communities and, most importantly, the leaders of our future.


Ben Castleberry currently serves as the 2016-2017 Alabama FFA State Secretary.