Tilling the future

A local FFA student will be making decisions to help the organization at a higher level.

Emily Dougherty, a recent graduate of Whiteland Community High School, was named the 2016-2017 Indiana FFA southern region vice president for a one-year term.

She has deferred her admission to Purdue University and will be attending college in the fall of 2017 to study Agricultural Communications and Agricultural Economics.

Why did you join FFA?

I joined FFA because it is a family tradition; my dad, grandpa and papaw all were in FFA. I would always hear of memories and experiences made through being in FFA and see the blue corduroy jacket, and I always knew I wanted to have my own coveted FFA jacket one day. I became involved my seventh grade year, and my passion was ignited, and I continued to strive and succeed within the FFA organization throughout middle school and high school.

Why did you want to be an officer?

I wanted to be an Indiana FFA state officer to give back my time and talents to the Indiana FFA organization. FFA has had a large impact on my life, and I believe through this year of service, I will be able to give back. I hope to influence the 11,856 members of Indiana FFA and encourage them to develop their leadership, personal growth and career success. Also, through serving, I want to be a positive representation of Indiana FFA and an advocate for the agriculture industry.

How did you get the job?

You must have the FFA experience and passion necessary to fulfill the role. We had to fill out an extensive application, go through three days of interview rounds consisting of speeches, group facilitation, writing exercises, an FFA and agricultural knowledge test and single interviews. We completed the application and interview rounds, then a nominating committee slated the 2016-2017 Officer Team, and it was passed by the voting delegates at the 87th Indiana FFA State Convention.

What are your duties?

As a state officer we have a plethora of duties. We facilitate camps and conferences for FFA members throughout the year. We run the Indiana FFA Pavilion at the Indiana State Fair. We educate students at chapter visits, promoting FFA and the agriculture industry, and lead group activities at 12 district kickoffs throughout Indiana. We travel to agricultural businesses and industries, as well as sponsor fostering relationships between FFA and the agriculture industry. We promote FFA at various community events all over the year and state. We also plan and put on the 88th Indiana FFA state convention, which is next June at Purdue University.

What has the training been like?

We have multiple trainings to develop a premier Indiana FFA state officer team. A training called Blast Off is done at the FFA Leadership Center in Trafalgar and focuses on finding each individual officer’s strengths, skills and talents and public speaking skills. The National Leadership Conference for State Officers establishes and grows the team as a whole through a week-long training in Mississippi. In a month, we will also attend facilitation training, which helps our team create teaching and presentation skills to educate students about FFA, agriculture and leadership skills.

How does this help other FFA students in the county?

This greatly helps students from Johnson County because I can serve as an example, positive mentor and representative of Johnson County, as well as a connection between our State FFA Association and the multiple FFA chapters in the county. It also gives the FFA students more opportunities to participate in activities and for the state officers to travel and educate fellow members in Johnson County.

What are you most looking forward to?

I am so excited to get to know as many Indiana FFA members and members throughout the United States as possible. I will have great opportunities to learn more about Indiana agriculture as we make connections throughout the state by interacting with members, chapters and industry professionals.

What are you hoping to get out of the experience?

I hope to gain lifelong friendships, connections and gratitude, humility and thankfulness as I am able to serve the members of Indiana FFA.