Last week, thousands of Montana students involved with Future Farmers of America (FFA) gathered on MSU’s campus. From Nov. 14-16, MSU hosted the eighth annual John Deere Agriculture Expo to acquaint young students with the agricultural opportunities provided at MSU. The event brought together middle school and high school students interested in agriculture from around the state to participate in various events, workshops and competitions. The Montana chapter of FFA partnered with Montana John Deere dealers to host the gathering.
The event included leadership development workshops, discussions on career opportunities in agriculture, and tours of MSU’s College of Agriculture. The students involved in FFA competed in quiz competitions and livestock judgings at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. Additionally, Friday, Nov. 15, marked Agricultural Education Enrichment Day, which recognizes FFA and agricultural education.
Kate Kucker, a freshman at MSU studying Animal Science in the College of Agriculture, was involved with FFA for 11 years in her hometown of Modesto, CA. Her involvement in FFA helped influence her decision to attend MSU and focus on animal science. Kucker said, “My interest in agriculture really peaked in high school through FFA. It gave me so many opportunities to get involved in local agriculture industries including raising pigs, showing beef cattle and judging dairy cattle.” FFA highlights the importance of agriculture beyond growing crops and raising livestock. Kucker explained, “Agriculture is prevalent throughout our society and is needed to sustain our growing population”.
Since MSU is a land grant university, there is a large focus on agriculture. The College of Agriculture accounts for one of the seven distinct colleges at MSU. It offers 11 majors including agricultural economics and education, animal and range sciences, environmental science, microbiology and plant sciences. “MSU has a strong agriculture program with faculty who are passionate about the subjects they teach. Most of them grew up in the agriculture industry and understand the hard work and dedication it takes to be successful when working in agriculture,” Kucker remarked.
The annual Agriculture Expo brought light to the hardworking students and faculty in the College of Agriculture. It showcased the importance of the program to potential future students interested in agriculture.
Montana supports 99 chapters of FFA with over 5,100 total members. Of the total members, 1,500 had the opportunity to visit MSU and attend the agriculture expo. FFA is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by providing resources to enrich leadership, personal growth, and career success in the field.