On Tuesday, October 29th, ten of the Murray FFA members loaded up on a charter bus with four other schools to go to National Convention. Those ten students were Kegan Johnson, Bailey Frederick, Daniel Little, Hannah Paschke, Chloe Church, Brooke Shannon, Savannah Mann, Jaden Lynn, Jacob Fuller, and Dallas Heaberlin. The first day on the road members went to Chicago Illinois, for the first tour of the trip at Soldier Field is where the Chicago Bears play. This stadium is called Soldier Field as a memorial for all the men and women from Chicago that served in the armed forces. The members really enjoyed this tour as they got to go onto the field. The head groundskeeper talked to the FFA members about turf management. The field is made up of real turf, consisting of bluegrass and rye. It was surprising that it’s preferred that the field is made up of sandy soil. This helps with drainage on the field and a softer impact on the players. The members also learned that football isn’t the only event played in this stadium. The field hosts soccer games. Famous artists such as Beyonce and Jay Z performed here as well as Taylor Swift. The members also got to tour the opposing team’s locker room, the technology and soundboard room, and the box seats. The box seats are a very special place to sit, Presidents and other famous people have sat in these seats. The seats cost around $800 and the current waiting list is 5 years.
On our second tour, we visited Tom Farms in Leesburg, Indiana. This family owns and operated farm consisted of 18,000 acres, but the family owns approximately 1,800 acres. The farm plants and harvests field corn, soybeans, and seed corn. The seed corn is from Bayer. The farm contracts their equipment with John Deere to trade in new equipment every year. The farm has its own grain storage facility that can store up to 3.3 million bushels of crop. All of the members from our chapter enjoyed both of these tours.
At Convention, the members went to different workshops and Career and Development Event competitions. One workshop many of the members enjoyed was focused on ways in which to encourage others, eliminate judgment towards others, and show kindness through action. The members stood in line early Friday morning to gain access to the ‘Blue Room’. The ‘Blue Room’ showcases new and upcoming technology in agriculture, allowing students to demo virtual reality goggles, tractors, and get a sneak peek into technology that will be used by advancing agricultural companies in the near future. On Saturday morning, the members attended the American Degree Ceremony. The Chapter ended their convention by attending the final session to watch the retirement of National FFA Advisor Dr. Steve Brown, and the installation of the 2019-2020 National Officer team.