Leaders from the Indianapolis-based National FFA Organization and AgriNovus Indiana have unveiled an initiative designed to expose attendees of the massive annual FFA Convention and Expo to careers and innovation in agriculture. The Blue Room — a 17,000 square-foot interactive experience — will focus on experiential learning to help grow the talent pipeline in the sector. The National FFA has also launched Blue 365, which is focused on the convergence of technology, science, research and entrepreneurship, to FFA-affiliated classrooms throughout the country.
National FFA Chief Executive Officer Mark Poeschl says the Blue Room will showcase the state and available career opportunities in Indiana and elsewhere. "What you hope is is that those young people that are (attending the convention) here in Indiana can see, ‘man, there are great career opportunities in this industry of agriculture and I might even be able to stay in my home territory, if you will, and participate in 21st Century agriculture,’" he told Inside INdiana Business.
The national organization says it has more than 650,000 members. AgriNovus Indiana CEO Beth Bechdol says her organization and the National FFA have been longtime partners. She says the nature of agriculture continues to change. "We’re not necessarily training people to be the future farmers of America, we’re now training them to be future biologists, future marketers, future engineers, future innovators, future coders and data scientists," she said, "so having this experience at convention with the Blue Room to showcase all of that potential — if we can inspire just one student to do something really big in his or her life, that would be success."
The 2018 National FFA Convention & Expo, which is billed as the largest student convention in the nation, will take place in downtown Indianapolis October 24-27. Visit Indy estimates it will attract 67,000 attendees. You can connect to the unveiling of the AgriNovus and FFA collaboration by clicking here.