By Woodrow Polston
During National FFA Week, Van-Far FFA students traveled to Jefferson City to visit the state’s capitol. Outside of the capitol building, they watched as Gov. Mike Parson drove his tractor to work, which was a part of the FFA Week Proclamation Ceremony. The tractors, supplied by the area Heritage Tractors dealership, left the Governor’s Mansion around 8:30 a.m. and traveled on West Capitol Avenue to park in front of the state Capitol. Parson drove one tractor with Missouri FFA President Kaitlin Kleiboeker, of Pierce City, and he was followed by Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe in a second tractor with Missouri FFA Vice President Abigail Miller, of Eldon.
“Short drive it was,” said Parson. “But you get a chance to talk to them and find out why they’re here today, what got them involved in FFA, and it’s always good to talk to those young kids about their dreams and about their vision for things. It was a fun little ride and drive to the Capitol this morning,” he added.
During the course of events, the students listened to speakers such as Kehoe, Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn, Missouri Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven, KC Animal Health Corridor Vice President Emily McVey, Hemme Brothers Creamery co-owners, Show-Me Meat Education and Training Center Director Ty Peckman, and Agri Spray Drones Owner Taylor Moreland.
“We need you to be the voice of agriculture,” said Chinn, as he encouraged the students. Other state leaders also encouraged FFA students to continue talking about the importance of agriculture in Missouri and the value it adds to the state. Kehoe also urged the students to take those discussions to state lawmakers as well.
Parson said that the number of FFA students that were there at the Capitol on Wednesday shows the importance of agriculture in Missouri, and for our future generations of farmers and businesses.
“What they’re going to be able to do in their lifetime is going to be an incredible opportunity with technology the way it’s going,” said Parson.
FFA, which stands for the Future Farmers of America, is an agricultural career oriented student organization with local, state and national chapters. Missouri has nearly 26,000 FFA students and is among the nation’s top 10 states for FFA membership. Approximately 300 FFA officers and members from local chapters throughout Missouri traveled to the Capitol City during National FFA Week for the governor’s proclamation and to hear from agricultural leaders.
The Van-Far FFA kicked off National FFA Week with a barbecue fundraiser on Saturday at the high school, where they served BBQ pork steaks with sides, drinks and desserts. On Sunday morning, they attended services at the First Christian Church in Vandalia, before thier meeting. On Tuesday, they hosted a community breakfast. They ended the week with a contest held in Eldon, Mo., on Saturday.