WASHINGTON (Friday, July 28, 2023) – Agricultural advocacy is a skill that all FFA members practice. At the highest levels of leadership in the organization, State FFA Officers annually attend the National FFA State Officer Summit in Washington, DC. During this conference, nearly 400 State Officers from around the nation learn more about advocacy, conduct legislative visits on Capitol Hill, and take in the rich history of our Nation’s Capital.
Louisiana’s ten State FFA Officers participated in this year’s event held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington’s Woodley Park neighborhood. While there, the officers had the opportunity to learn alongside State Officers from around the country. Louisiana FFA State Treasurer Cayde Gordon from Florien said the lessons he learned at the Summit made him better prepared to advocate for Louisiana’s agriculture industry. “Conducting Capitol Hill visits gave me experience and confidence regarding how to convey the message of agriculture to our elected officials,” Gordon said. “It showed me the importance of agricultural policy, especially the federal Farm Bill, and how these policies impact our state’s farmers, ranchers, and other agriculture producers.”
In addition to advocacy, State Officers kicked off the 2023 National FFA Delegate Process at the Summit. Each year, two officers from each state serve as leadership delegates on National FFA committees. Louisiana’s State President, Camille Sonnier from Lacassine, and State Secretary, Curstyn Oncale from Thibodaux, will serve in these roles. “As a leadership delegate, was able to learn why the committee process is vital to the continued success of FFA. Leadership delegates are responsible for spearheading the efforts to make positive change for all FFA members,” Oncale said. “We were given the opportunity to learn how to listen to all opinions in order to compromise and work through differences, the truly democratic way.”
Throughout the week, the officers witnessed the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, toured the monuments on the National Mall, visited museums, met with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and visited with staff from the offices of Senator John Kennedy, Congresswoman Julia Letlow, and Congressman Mike Johnson. The State Officers will serve on delegate committees at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis in November.