At the May 4, 2023 meeting, the speaker was Jessica Herr, a first-year student at Penn State and a member of the National FFA Organization’s officer team as secretary for 2022-23. Jessica updated PSPA members on what is happening nationally and locally with the help of the state officer teams from New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well as local teams from Oley Valley, Lankenau, and Saul High Schools. Students talked about their future career plans in a round-robin activity near the conclusion of the meeting as well as a pre-meeting activity led bu Jessica,
Not surprisingly, comments from Jessica’s mom and dad, Eric and Melissa Herr; PA FFA Executive Director Michael Brammer and Erin Noble, State FFA Advisor, New Jersey; and Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher from New Jersey spoke to the importance of FFA in helping students to think through career pathways in agriculture. The way that transferable skill operate in career development seemed to strike a chord with many of the students…general law to ag law; general engineering to ag engineering; banking to ag banking; and others were exambles.
At the beginning of the meeting, Dr. Carl Brown announced the winners of the Fred Winter Memorial Scholarship (see additional News story). Mike McGrath presented a PSPA certificate to Charles Samul, our newest member and to the Friends of the Farm Show Foundation, our newest institutional member.
Delegates at the National FFA Convention and Expo annually elect six students to represent the organization as national officers. As they lead the organization during the following year, officers meet business and industry leaders, as well as thousands of FFA members and teachers. They also interact with corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, and the public. The officer team leads personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members nationwide. They also help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and the next generation of leaders.
“FFA is a student-led organization, so national officers help our executive board make decisions about the future of our organization,” said Herr. “They serve as advocates for agricultural education, the agricultural industry and the FFA. This takes place through industry tours with our corporate sponsors, legislative visits and visiting student members across the country.”
Herr noted that she has been most excited to experience agriculture in corners of the country that she’s not familiar with and to visit state FFA conventions throughout the year.
Herr, who is from Lancaster County, is a third generation FFA member.
“My grandpa served as a state officer in 1965-66,” she said, adding that her father and sister also were active FFA members. “We were all members of the Garden Spot FFA chapter at Lampeter-Strasburg High School. It was a natural transition for me to join FFA. I’m taking part in the family tradition and stepping into the rich community that FFA members experience.”
Herr is exploring her career path but is interested in careers in agricultural communications or leadership, specifically in an agricultural youth development organization similar to the FFA.