Make a Difference!


Whether you’re the state president or sitting with a peer that was alone at lunch, it’s making a difference. FFA is an organization based upon making a difference: making a difference for your peers, your school, your community, and your world.

The first General Session, held on June 20th, kicked off convention with keynote speaker Grant Baldwin. Baldwin has spoken to thousands of FFA members at 19 different FFA conventions about making that difference.

He began his career as a youth pastor and used it as a starting point for his motivational speeches. Baldwin was introduced to a couple of professional speakers and found a new career path. He began to find his ‘voice’ and share his message.

Grant explained that when making a difference there are two steps. Step number one being taking responsibility. He stated, “Stop assuming someone else will do it or take care of it. We have the mindset that we see something that bother us, but it doesn’t bother us enough to change it. Stop waiting for someone else to do it. Take responsibility.”

He followed with his second step, starting small. He explained that small things make large impacts. He explained, “Making a difference means starting small. You might do something that means nothing to you but everything to someone else.”

Baldwin explained that having a different voice has occurred within his own life, with his own daughter. “I’ll say something and it just won’t click, but when she hears it from someone else it does. I said that, but she didn’t hear my ‘voice,’” he explained.

In terms of relaying his message to FFA member comments, “For some students they hear similar stuff from their advisors or their parents, but when they hear it from someone like me it’s more like it’s coming from like a big brother, that type of vibe. And then it clicks or resonates differently than in the past.”

He concluded the interview by challenging the “Blue Mafia” to transform and make a difference. He stated, “My biggest thing is to really encourage members to take action. I think the danger is that it is really easy to hear a talk and to laugh, to nod, and to play along, but not do nothing different, then we have kinda wasted our time. So what are you going to do differently as a result? That would be my big challenge: take some sort of small action.”


Indiana FFA recognizes Honorary Degree and Distinguished Service Recipients

Six members of the agriculture education community tabbed for exceptional service to Indiana FFA.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (June 21, 2017)Indiana FFA recognized six people for their dedication to agriculture education and FFA at the 88th Indiana FFA State Convention on Wednesday. Brad Acton, Stacey Hartley, Mel Lenig, and Tamara Neighbors were recognized as Honorary Degree Recipients, while Duane Huge and Ben Helms were tabbed with the Distinguished Service Award.

Mr. Brad Acton has been an employee of the Indiana FFA Leadership Center for the past seven years where he plays a key role in the maintenance and upkeep throughout the year. Brad dedicates himself day in and day out to maintain the facilities at the Indiana FFA Leadership Center, which is home to our 12,501 Indiana FFA members.

A middle school agriculture education teacher at Lebanon High School, Mrs. Stacey Hartley has played a vital role in the development and success of both the middle school and high school FFA chapters. Increasing the pipeline of incoming teachers, Mrs. Hartley has influenced numerous students to pursue a degree in agriculture education. She was named IAAE’s District IV Teacher of the Year and Lebanon’s School Corporation’s Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Mel Lenig has been an agriculture educator for 34 years. He has been involved in many activities that has furthered agriculture in both his local community and the state of Indiana, where he has taught over 6,000 students at Penn High School. In 2007, Mr. Lenig was named Indiana’s Agriculture Educator of the Year and has even been invited to the White House twice by two different Presidents as a National Finalist and a National Winner of the Building Our American Communities Program.

Currently serving as the Executive Director of Indiana FFA, Miss Tamara Neighbors began her career in agricultural education at Mount Vernon High School where she taught for six years. She worked to develop a chapter that focused on growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agriculture.  She has worked diligently to put more structure within the FFA and has launched a five-year strategic plan that should serve as the template for the Association’s operations in the future.

After 41 years of teaching agriculture classes, Mr. Ben Helms retired from teaching in 2016. Mr. Helms taught at L&M High School for two years, and taught at Bloomfield High School for 39 years, where he was only the second Ag teacher ever to teach at Bloomfield High School since its inception in 1949. Mr. Helms served as the dorm counselor at Indiana FFA State Convention for 25 years. During his career, he has spent many hours at the Indiana FFA Leadership Center maintaining, detailing, and building structures around the facility.

Mr. Duane Huge has served as an agricultural educator for a combined 32 years at Cloverdale High School and Danville High School.  He has had several State Star Recipients, three National Proficiency Finalists and one Winner. Mr. Huge also has one National Soils Evaluation Winning Team.  Because of his leadership, Danville will be adding a middle school program and second teacher in the fall of 2017. In his local community, he is a member of the Cloverdale School Board, Hendricks County Farm Bureau Board, Danville High School Department Head and has coordinated and developed multiple service events

The Honorary Degree is to recognize teachers who have created high-quality agricultural education programs which inspire and motivate their students to strive for success and individuals who have provided exceptional service on a national level to agriculture, agricultural education, or FFA. The Distinguished Service Award recognize those who have gone above and beyond for agriculture education and FFA on all levels, who have previously been awarded the Honorary Degree.

16-17 State Officer Favorite Moments

State Officers: A Moment of Reflection

The 2016-2017 Indiana FFA State Officers reflect on their year of service and favorite memories.

 “One of my favorite memories from my year in service was participating in Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration. Our team and almost 90 awesome FFA members had the honor of holding every county’s sign and walking the streets of Indianapolis to celebrate Indiana’s 200th year. It was awesome to spend so much quality time with members as we waited to walk somewhere, and to represent my home county at the same time.” -Jessica Mars, Indiana FFA State President

 “My favorite memories with FFA members definitely were through conferences like LDW, FIRE, SOAR, Summer Challenge, and PLT. The week before each conference may have been a little stressful, but we know that every ounce of hard work was worth it. We saw members grow a tremendous amount between the Friday of the conference and the Sunday. The most eye opening part about getting to know FFA members is witnessing their growth from the beginning of the year to the end. You can just see their passions enhance and their want to serve be put into action. FFA members have allowed me to transform into a better version of myself because of how incredible they are.” -Sneha Jogi, Indiana FFA State Northern Region Vice President

 “One of the highlights of my year of State Office was Banquet Season. It was so neat to have the opportunity to travel around the State visiting Chapters we made connections and memories with. We got to see how far members and chapters have grown throughout the year and to see what all they have accomplished throughout our year of service. Banquet season was a great ending to our year and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of the chapters that welcomed us into their chapters like family.” -Emily Daugherty, Indiana FFA State Southern Region Vice President

  “My favorite memory of the year is FFA Week. I had a blast with the chapters I got the opportunity to visit while geocaching, roller skating, petting zoos, and much much more!” -Chaela Minor, Indiana FFA State Secretary

  “This year sure has been a whirlwind and there are several highlights of the year that I could discuss, however, there is one activity I was involved in that stands out the most to me.. This was the first large task for us State Officers to tackle and it was awesome. The great Indiana State Fair. We had the opportunity to spend time with FFA members that we would reconnect with several times throughout the year. In addition to that, engaging with the general public about agriculture was absolutely amazing. Top both of those off with a the constant fair excitement constantly surrounding us, it made for an amazing and one of a kind experience.” -Nathan Blume, Indiana FFA State Treasurer

 “For me, FFA Week was a huge highlight of the year. I was able to meet so many FFA members in such a short time and develop memories that will last a lifetime. My teammates and I loved our year as State Officers and our most impactful moments were those spent with members. Whether it was seeing a member succeed in a career development event, the growth they achieved during a weekend conference or watching all their hard work pay off at a chapter banquet it is incredible to see an organization transform the lives of so many people. Through all of their success, FFA members still continually went out of their way to selflessly serve others and embracing what it means to live to serve.” -Leah Jacobs, Indiana FFA State Reporter

 “My favorite memory and reflection of this year is chapter banquets. It was awesome to see how differently things are from chapter to chapter and see how everyone works differently. It was also super unique to be able to see our FFA members at their peak. They have worked all year for this moment and being able to be a part of the celebration was awesome!” -Logan Glassburn, Indiana FFA State Sentinel


State Officers Welcome Members

The 2016-2017 Indiana FFA State Officers would like to welcome you to the 88th Indiana FFA State Convention held at Purdue University. These next three days are full of great things planned by the Indiana FFA State Officer Team. As State President, Jessica Mars, stated on behalf of the officer team, “we do this all for them.” They put all the hours, dedication, thoughts, comments, and hard work into State Convention for the members.

For the past three months, the officer team has been working really hard to get everything together for convention, and have finally realized the reality of it all coming together.

The State Officers are very excited for the Opening Celebration, as they feel it will really set the theme for convention as they highlight seven members who have transformed their purposes into action. They believe that this theme will set the bar for State Convention this year and for years to come.

“Making an impact and helping members to find the spark within them is the goal”, State Secretary Chaela Minor stated. “We want members to connect with other members and meet new friends.”

The State Officer Team is very excited to welcome you to Purdue University for the 88th Indiana FFA State Convention. They hope that over the next three days, members will transform their purpose into action!