CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator

Vol. 45, No. 73

Sept. 1, 2011

Missouri FFA Officers Attend Forum Sponsored by the White House


Kollen with Obama

Missouri FFA Officer Kollen Chapman with President Obama.

FFA Officers

FFA Officers pictured from left: Kollen Chapman, Jill Blankenship, Samantha Whittaker, and Evan Grusenmeyer.

Four Missouri FFA officers recently attended the Rural Economic Forum sponsored by the White House.  The event was held Aug. 16 at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta.  The Missouri officers joined counterparts from Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, along with two representatives from the National FFA Organization. 

Missouri representatives included: Jill Blankenship, state vice president from Eldon; Kollen Chapman, state vice president from Osceola; Evan Grusenmeyer, first state vice president from Smithville; and Samantha Whittaker, state vice president from Miller.  Keith Dietzschold, Missouri FFA Northwest District supervisor and executive secretary, accompanied the student representatives to the event.

“The Rural Economic Forum provided a hands-on leadership opportunity for the Missouri FFA officers who attended,” said Leon Busdieker, state FFA advisor with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  “Not only were they able to network with other students and agriculture professionals in other states, they had a direct role in informing the national policymaking process.”

The Rural Economic Forum, coordinated by the National FFA Organization, brought stakeholders together to discuss issues affecting rural America and to generate priorities for the White House Rural Council.  President Barack Obama established the council in June to accelerate the ongoing work of promoting economic growth in rural America.  The council is chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

The forum’s agenda included opening remarks from Obama, breakout discussions led by members of the president’s Cabinet staff, and closing remarks from the president encouraging students to continue their work for the betterment of rural America.

FFA is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of young people by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.  Facilitated through the Department’s Office of College and Career Readiness, Missouri FFA has more than 25,000 members from 326 high school chapters across the state.