The chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization says Indiana's commitment to growing agriculture well beyond the farm played a big part in extending the deal to hold its massive annual convention in Indianapolis through 2024. Dwight Armstrong says Indiana's food and agriculture innovation initiative AgriNovus is a prime example of the state's focus on creating STEM-related ag careers. The National FFA Convention & Expo returns to Indianapolis next year for the first time since 2012, and brings with it more than 60,000 attendees and an estimated $36.2 million economic impact.
Armstrong says Indiana's central location and available facilities also helped fuel the decision. The event will use downtown venues including Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the Indiana Convention Center. It is also expected to fill eight event hotels.
He says the National FFA Organization having its headquarters in Indianapolis also makes the city a natural fit for the convention. He says the organization is "excited to introduce these future leaders to the city that FFA calls home."
Governor Mike Pence and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard took part in today's announcement. During the event, Pence said the convention is "right at home" in Indiana, and the long-term contract will build on the state's "already-robust agricultural heritage."
Indianapolis first hosted the conference in 2006, and it would remain in the city through 2012. After that, the FFA planned to rotate the convention between Louisville and Indianapolis every three years. However, as membership and attendance grew, the organization decided to return to Indianapolis for nine years.
Kansas City, Missouri hosted the event from 1928-1998. The event then moved to Louisville from 1995-2005 before heading to Indianapolis.
Armstrong says, while there are no plans in place as of yet past 2024, he would hope Indianapolis would remain interested in hosting the convention. He says the organization will begin considering where to host those future events within a few years.
This year's event is scheduled for October 28-31 in Louisville.