Organizers expect more than 4,600 students from across Nebraska will attend the annual FFA state convention in Lincoln this week.
Anita Wollenburg, Nebraska FFA state advisor, says they have seen tremendous growth in recent years.
“We’ve added 39 new ag education and FFA chapters across the state,” Wollenburg tells Nebraska Radio Network. “This past year, we’ve added 13 of those 39. Our convention attendance is at an all-time high, because more students enrolled in those programs also means more students attending the convention.”
Wollenburg says there are many workshops on career opportunities in agriculture and natural resources for the students. In Nebraska, one in four jobs is connected to agriculture.
“A lot of our students, if we were to break it out, two percent will go back to production, with the large majority filling roles in ag research or ag business or ag technology or sales,” she says.
One job, in particular, is of high interest to the industry. Wollenburg says there is a shortage of agriculture teachers in Nebraska and across the nation.
“One of our efforts to recruit and retain ag teachers is to host the teach ag workshop by an agriculture instructor from Kansas, who’s pretty energetic,” Wollenburg says. “He’ll engage students in helping them think about what could that career look like.”
The FFA convention runs April 6-8 at sites in downtown Lincoln as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus.