FFA Returns to Blackford High School

From+left%3A+Sara+Troyer%2C+Gretchen+Messersmith%2C+Grace+Marshall%2C+Anya+Aulbach%2C+and+Morgan+Shroyer+take+a+moment+to+pose+for+a+picture+in+the+Indianapolis+Convention+Center+in+Indianapolis+on+October+20%2C+for+the+National+FFA+Convention.
From left: Sara Troyer, Gretchen Messersmith, Grace Marshall, Anya Aulbach, and Morgan Shroyer take a moment to pose for a picture in the Indianapolis Convention Center in Indianapolis on October 20, for the National FFA Convention.

From left: Sara Troyer, Gretchen Messersmith, Grace Marshall, Anya Aulbach, and Morgan Shroyer take a moment to pose for a picture in the Indianapolis Convention Center in Indianapolis on October 20, for the National FFA Convention.

From left: Sara Troyer, Gretchen Messersmith, Grace Marshall, Anya Aulbach, and Morgan Shroyer take a moment to pose for a picture in the Indianapolis Convention Center in Indianapolis on October 20, for the National FFA Convention.

Anya Aulbach, Contributor

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From left: Sara Troyer, Gretchen Messersmith, Grace Marshall, Anya Aulbach, and Morgan Shroyer take a moment to pose for a picture in the Indianapolis Convention Center in Indianapolis on October 20, for the National FFA Convention.

For the first time in 28 years, Blackford High School has an FFA program. The program, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, was disbanded at Blackford High School in 1988, a year after the agriculture program was discontinued.

“I was a sophomore when they got rid of FFA. It was a huge disappointment for myself and some friends, because we had all been interested in agriculture, and after they got rid of it, we had no place at school to really learn about Ag,” commented former Blackford FFA member, Eric Aulbach.

This disappointment drove Aulbach and many other community members to push for the Ag program and FFA to be reinstated at Blackford High School. After 28 years, they have succeeded. Shelbi Louck, four year FFA member at Jay County High School, is in charge of Blackford FFA. “[Starting up Blackford’s FFA] was a long process. We had to fill out a lot of forms with the State FFA Association and prove to the state that Blackford was qualified to offer Ag classes. All in all, it took about three months,” Louck explained.

Though the program had a slow start up, and is still in development, FFA members are jumping right into FFA activities. “We’ve participated in lots of contests, like livestock judging, soils judging, and forestry judging.” FFA Vice President, Andrew Thurman, says. Also, a large group of members attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis on October 20th.

“Being [at the National FFA Convention] was a great experience. We got to meet so many people from all over the country who all share an interest in agriculture, and I think that is pretty cool,” Sophomore FFA member Grace Marshall says, after the convention. “I would go back in a heartbeat.”

Of course, FFA is not just about agriculture. “During my four years in FFA, I learned about livestock and soil and that stuff, but I also got so many leadership skills. I learned proper manners, and just a lot of great life lessons,” Louck said. “There is something in FFA for everyone, not just farmers, and it’s a great club to join.”

The Blackford FFA members agree with their advisor, “If you’re looking for a club to join, FFA is a great idea. It is a great experience and very important to Blackford High School,” Senior FFA member Sara Troyer muses.

“For an ag-based community, I think FFA is a very important club to have. And it will teach lots of important leadership skills, which will definitely help Blackford students,” explained Sophomore FFA Member, Gretchen Messersmith.

The organization will help to keep the Ag industry of Blackford County as vital and prominent as it once was, as well as inspiring new generations of farmers. The nearly century long tradition has made its comeback to Blackford, and hopefully this time for good. Freshman FFA member Gabrielle ‘Sissy’ Reid sums it up best, “I think being a part of this new Blackford FFA is an honor, honestly. I mean, a lot of kids didn’t get to be a part of it, and I’m very lucky to be one of the people bringing the tradition back.”

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FFA Returns to Blackford High School