If you’ve been attending the 96th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, you have most likely participated in the expo portion of the convention. With hundreds of booths right at your fingertips, the National FFA Expo has opportunities that can lead you to success. For example, meeting with National FFA corporate partners like Bayer, PepsiCo, Wrangler, and Syngenta will allow you to learn so much about the businesses that lead the agriculture industry.
My favorite part about the National FFA Expo is chatting with the many colleges looking for students just like the members of FFA to become a part of the campus.
While I walked around the Collegiate Connection area of the Expo, I talked with multiple colleges — including University of California-Davis, Fresno State, and Oklahoma State University — to see what they look for in their applicants.
When meeting with the UC Davis, they stated that they seek academic achievers and those who take rigorous courses, which makes sense because UC Davis is a research university. UC Davis also said they are most known for their veterinary science program, ranked first in the nation for veterinary medicine. As a California FFA member, I always enjoy visiting the UC Davis campus, especially since they host the annual FFA CDE field day for California FFA members. While interviewing an ambassador from UC Davis, I noticed that their booth always stayed busy with FFA members and guests from across the country who have an interest in the rigorous courses that UC Davis has to offer.
I then made my way across the expo hall to find the Fresno State booth. While talking with the Fresno State ambassador, he informed me that Fresno State looks for well-rounded applicants who are both academically proficient and involved within their communities. Fresno State offers many different agriculture pathways, and they take pride in not just focusing on one general agriculture industry but on helping their college students find a future career in what they see joy in. Fresno State is known for having one of the best Agricultural Education programs. Also, it has a very active ambassador program that helps agriculture students like FFA members.
I have now found myself walking into the most eye-catching both at the Expo. Oklahoma State is where the Ferguson College of Agriculture presides. I learned from one of the OSU ambassadors that their college finds interest in applicants with agricultural backgrounds; they pride themselves in their community atmosphere and seek applicants who want to become the next generation of agriculturalists and leaders. OSU is known for having academic and leadership success that has been recognized at the collegiate national level.
To each of these agricultural colleges, applicants are more than just students; they are the future stewards of our land. These institutions seek individuals with a deep-rooted passion for agriculture, a thirst for knowledge, and a commitment to sustainable practices. As you embark on your journey to join their ranks, remember that your unique experiences and dedication to the field set you apart.
Agriculture colleges are looking for not just students but future leaders who will shape the future of agriculture. So, if you have some free time at this year’s 96th National FFA Convention and Expo, make sure to take the time to stop by the college information booths within the expo; you might even find the school that paves the way to your future endeavors.
Patrick Palmer is a senior and president of the Clovis FFA Chapter in California, as well as serving as president of the San Joaquin Region, leading over 26,000 Central Valley FFA members to success.