It is National FFA Week! As more than 15,400 members across 242 student chapters in Iowa kick off activities in schools and communities across the state, it is the perfect time to reflect on how strong youth leadership programs can drive innovation in Iowa agriculture.
For 90 years, Iowa FFA has been an important part of training the next generation of ag leaders. And, as agriculture has changed, so has FFA. Today’s FFA helps members prepare for careers in agribusiness, agrimarketing, science, communications, education, horticulture, production, natural resources, forestry and many other diverse fields.
No matter what career path these young leaders choose, there are tremendous opportunities in America’s Cultivation Corridor.
With a diversity of ag industries – bioscience to grain and food processing and predictive analytics to advanced manufacturing – and a thriving ecosystem for agricultural start-ups, Iowa is the place to be for the next generation of agricultural innovators. The skills they are learning today will help them adopt new technologies to improve water quality, improve animal health, or increase production on a family’s farming operation, or bring new ideas to a career at one of the leading brands in global agriculture with a presence in our state. Some may choose to start their own business and use the many resources for start-ups and entrepreneurs to bring their innovations to reality.
Thank you to Iowa FFA for giving our state’s students a head start in their careers, and thank you to the ag education instructors and FFA advisors whose dedication and commitment make their experiences possible. We can’t wait to see what innovations this next generation of leaders brings to America’s Cultivation Corridor and the world.
Billi Hunt was named the Executive Director of the Cultivation Corridor in February 2018. She brings 20 years of experience in agriculture and the Iowa business community to the Corridor’s efforts to enhance agricultural sustainability and accelerate business development by attracting new companies, talent and capital to central Iowa. She works with Cultivation Corridor investors, partners and other organizations to build the Corridor brand and broaden opportunities within the region. An Iowa native, Hunt received her Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University and her Master of Public Administration from Drake University. She and her husband Mike Elam and children live in Urbandale, Iowa.