News & Views November/December 2019 Edition

John Starkey Gettin’ More Than We Gave The annual National FFA Convention was conducted in early November, and with it, I wrapped up a four-year stint on the National FFA Sponsors’ Board. As always, I was energized by the Convention. Who could possibly not be energized by 70,000 people coming together, the vast majority of whom are high school students, to celebrate the future of youth in agriculture? We, as the poultry industry, need our fair share of these students, and bit by bit over the last several years our USPOULTRY Foundation has been extending our reach beyond the FFA Convention trade show floor to include: • Bringing the “Gold” rated Poultry Production Career Development teams from across the nation at our expense to the IPPE, where they can see for themselves the vast and diverse needs of our industry—from accounting through marketing to veterinary science (2015 inaugural year). Roughly 40-50 students and advisors earn this trip. • Similarly, we extended the same opportunity to Food Science Career Development teams in 2017, with another potential for 40-50 students and advisors. • In 2018, we began inviting National Officer Candidates to attend the IPPE and participate in our College Student Career Program. These are college sophomores, primarily, who were competing to be one of the six national FFA officers selected each year. • Finally, we had FFA refine the Poultry Education module, originally developed over a decade ago via the California Poultry Federation, into FFA curriculum standards (after an update) to be used by Ag teachers coast-to-coast. As I leave the Sponsors’ Board, I’m confident we gained far more than received from the time I contributed. Many of you reading already support FFA at the local, state or national level. For those who have not considered it before, please do. Continuing access and interest of these bright young minds in our industry will directly impact our future success. John Starkey, PE President PRESIDENT’S COLUMN John Starkey, PE President USPOULTRY NOV/DEC 2019 I NEWS & VIEWS I 1