Locals attend National FFA Convention

Six members of the Barnwell County Career Center FFA Chapter recently traveled by airplane to Indianapolis, Ind. for the National FFA Convention Oct. 24-27. They are members of the FFA (Future Farmers of America) as a component of their courses in agriculture at the BCCC.
This was the 85th time members of the National FFA Organization gathered to network, explore careers and build upon their leadership skills. The National FFA Organization is the world's largest youth organization with nearly 600,000 members nationwide. Over 50,000 members fled to Indianapolis for this year's convention where city streets welcomed them with "FFA" themed flags, beautiful yellow mums and "Welcome FFA" signs on every business.
The BCCC FFA students constructed a booth to spotlight South Carolina's agricultural and FFA traditions to the rest of the nation in the Hall of States event. The group passed out over 500 bags of S.C. Grown peanuts and tagged visitors with "SC Certified Grown" stickers. The booth was given a grade of 93 out of 100 for its creativity, interaction and display of state information. The BCCC FFA Chapter was also recognized as one of the best of the nation through the presentation of the 2-Star Gold National Chapter Award. There are 7,498 FFA chapters across the nation. The "Gold" ranking places the chapter in the top 10 percent in the nation for their activities at school and throughout the community.
In addition to the Hall of States Exhibit Booth, students attended a concert featuring Brantley Gilbert and The Band Perry, visited countless leaders in the agricultural industry and colleges from across the nation during the expo and participated in an industry tour of Sheep Street Inc. On the tour, students learned how wool is removed from sheep, graded, spun into yarn, dyed and even woven into fabric during the industry tour. They also learned about sheep breed basics and the care and maintenance of the animals.
Community service is a very important part of membership in the FFA. The students had the awesome opportunity to complete a few different community service projects during their stay in Indianapolis. On Wednesday, students worked on hourly shifts to help pack meals during the FFA Rally to Fight Hunger. Working in cooperation with some members from Connecticut and Illinois, the group packaged over 400 meals per hour to help FFA pack a total of 1,000,000 meals in just two days. On Friday morning, students worked at Jameson Camp, a camp used by multiple school and non-profit groups, to remove an invasive species from their nature trail. Both were great experiences and helped the members to "give back".
For more information on FFA or the agricultural program at the Barnwell County Career Center, contact Mindy Sandifer at msandifer@bccc.k12.sc. For information on the National FFA, visit www.ffa.org and on the state association, visit www.scaged.org.