INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 19, 2016) – As 60,000+ FFA members descend on Indianapolis for the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo, 42 students are vying to become part of National FFA’s 2016-2017 officer team. Kathleen Jacobs, from Huntington, Ind., was selected to represent Indiana and is currently competing with students from all across nation for one of six National FFA officer positions.
“To me, being a National FFA Officer is about service, sharing the story of agriculture and encouraging the next generation of student leaders to reach their full potential,” Jacobs said. “I’m not running for a jacket, or a title; I’m running because I want to give back to FFA, its membership and to students nationwide.”
Jacobs grew up on a small grain and livestock operation and is a graduate of Huntington North High School. She was an Indiana FFA member for seven years and participated in a variety of leadership Career Development Events, such as extemporaneous public speaking. While in high school, she was also involved in 4-H, Freshman Mentoring, Student Athletic Board, the swim team and proudly served as the 2014-2015 State FFA Treasurer.
Unique to how most FFA members get their start, Jacobs said that, initially, she never intended to be a part of the organization.
“I was determined not to be in FFA, but my dad kept encouraging me to join – I’m so glad he did,” Jacobs said. “When I walked into my first meeting, I fell instantly in love with the organization, so to me, FFA has a deeper meaning because I was able to figure out on my own that this is what I wanted to do in life. Looking back, I’m so fortunate for the experiences I’ve had and for the connections I made through FFA.”
Currently, Jacobs is a sophomore at Purdue University majoring in Agricultural Economics and minoring in Psychology. She is involved in a variety of organizations on campus such as the Grand Prix Foundation, Ag Council, Ag Week Task Force, Collegiate Farm Bureau and Ag Economics Quiz Bowl. She recently served as the Public Policy Intern for Indiana Farm Bureau, and her future goals include finding a career within agricultural law and becoming a National FFA Officer.
“Kathleen has been training hard for this competition, and we are so proud of what she has accomplished,” said Tamara Neighbors, Indiana FFA Association Director. “She has positively impacted the lives of countless FFA members, and we wish her the best moving forward.”
In order to become a National FFA Officer, candidates must take part in a rigorous, week-long selection process, which includes everything from written and verbal exams to facilitating mock classroom discussions. After the process is complete, the top six candidates will be selected by a committee of delegates, who will announce the winners on the last day of the National FFA Convention & Expo.
According to the National FFA Organization website, National FFA officers will travel more than 100,000 miles during their year of service interacting with the general public, business and industry leaders, FFA members, government and education officials, and many more. They will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for the 649,355 FFA members nationwide – a record year for student membership – and will help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.