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Marshall Williams, Broadus FFA 

Broadus FFA attends National Convention


November 8, 2018

The Broadus FFA at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (L to R) Beau Kuhbacher, Tayden Gee, Maclain Cathey, Callie Williams, Erick McConnon, and Bailey Smith. (Photo courtesy of Marshall Williams)

Submitted by Marshall Williams

The Broadus FFA chapter had six students attend the trip to National FFA convention in Indianapolis October 20th through the 28th. Each student picked a day to report on our activities. The following is a compilation of their reports.

The Broadus FFA Chapter left Broadus the morning of October 20th. Our first stop was Theodore Roosevelt National Park between the Montana state line and Bismarck, ND. After spending the night in Fargo, ND, we traveled to the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis where we visited the Science Museum of Minnesota. The Science Museum of Minnesota is the most popular museum in the upper Midwest, containing dinosaur fossils, hand on exhibits, and an Omnitheater. Then the chapter went to the Mall of America, which is the largest mall in the U.S. Next, we drove to Albert Lee, Minnesota to spend the night. (Maclain Cathey)

On Monday the 23rd, we started out touring at Sukup Grain Company located in Sheffield, Iowa. They are building Safe T Homes for the people of countries that get hit by bad weather every year. They are hurricane proof, so that they can produce less casualties during bad storms. Sukup makes grain bins, they currently have the world record grain bin. Sukup is a family owned business, plus they produce their own grain dryers. They are an auger that spins and mixes the grain so it does not mold and so no moisture gets anywhere in the grain. We then traveled to Waterloo, Iowa to tour the John Deere cab assembly plant. John Deere is celebrating 100 years of equipment, so that NOTHING RUNS LIKE A DEERE. The John Deere Tractor Cab and Assembly Operations builds 6R, 7R, 8R/8RT, and 9R/9RT Series Tractors. The tractors are assembled, painted and made ready for the fields. As of 2018, Deere & Company employed about 67,000 people worldwide, of which half are in the United States and Canada, and it is the largest agriculture machinery company in the world. In August 2014, the company announced it was indefinitely laying off 600 of its workers at plants in Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas due to less demand for its products. The tour was the most I have ever learned in one afternoon. After the tour we walked over to the gift shop and bought some John Deere quality stuff. Then we stayed the night in Des Moines at the Country Inn Hotel. (Beau Kuhbacher)

The Eastern District FFA chapters woke up at 8 a.m. on October 23 to tour the Firestone and Vermeer manufacturing plants. All of our members walked into the Firestone plant in Des Moines where we were astonished at what it took to make a tire. The main parts of a tire were the sidewall, tread, and carcass. Then we saw the how they mixed several products together to get the combination they needed. They then added polyester to get the layers to build up the tire. Then they used a bladder to push the treads out and after that they checked over the tire for blems. If the tire happened to have any blems it got scrapped. We then drove to Peoria, Illinois to tour the Vermeer manufacturing plant. Vermeer was actually in rebuild because a tornado had destroyed two of their buildings on July 19 of this year. It was very impressive at what they had accomplished, including having all employees back to work in 30 days. They had actually combined their baler line and stump grinders into one building and it was very organized. Overall Vermeer did very well coping with the devastation caused. We then got to visit their museum and one of their hiring managers talked to us about the importance of work ethic. After that we drove to Peoria, Illinois where we stayed the night. (Tayden Gee)

Wednesday, October 24th, we had stayed the night in Peoria, IL the night before and woke up that next morning and went to Keystone barbwire and toured that factory that was built in 1889. Peter Sommers, the founder of the company, was in search of a better way to make fence rather than cutting down trees because that was time consuming and laborious. Not only was it that, but the wooden fence did not stand high winds and was burnt down in fires. So Peter decided to make a machine to improve fence quality and also make building fence easier. This machine only needed three men to run it, Peter and his two sons. Those three men were able to produce 200 feet of steel fence in a 16-hour day. Now that can be produced in one day only operated by one man. Around 1925 "Red Brand" appeared and they started dipping the tops of the products in red paint so they would be recognizable all around the world. With that we got to go through all the plants and watch how the panels, barbwire, etc. are assembled. After we were finished with our tour, we loaded on the bus and were back on the road to Indianapolis. We arrived there about 4 o'clock. After we were checked into our hotel, we all settled in and got ready for the Garth Brooks concert. We left the hotel at 7 so we could get there before the rush and get through security without any wait. After we found our seats and waited for a half an hour, Ned Ledoux, son of Chris Ledoux, opened for Garth. He sang about three or four songs and then it was time for Garth Brooks. Garth played all of his songs and even a few he loved by the people he looked up to musically. He even signed his cowboy hat and gave it to one of the young guys in the crowd. Then the national FFA officer team gave Garth a couple presents for their appreciation. They were the back of an FFA jacket with his home state Oklahoma, with a life time FFA Alumni membership, and an FFA belt buckle that he can wear to remember performing in Indianapolis, Indiana just for the 91st National FFA Convention and Expo for all the FFA members in the Lucas Oil Stadium. (Callie Williams)

The Broadus FFA Chapter's first morning in Indianapolis, they went to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the first general session of the 2018 National FFA Convention. After opening ceremonies, the National officers gave a speech on this year's theme of just one and how one person can change the world. After this they invited inspirational speaker Kyle Scheele. He talked about his life and what he's learned on how to become a better person. He talked about the Viking ship he is burning where he will burn his fears along with anyone else that wants to can tell him and he will put their request in the ship when he burns it. Directly after the session, the chapter went to the state photo where all chapters from Montana present at the convention got a photo together. After the photo session was the trade show where numerous sponsors of the FFA and other companies had booths set up. Among the booths was John Deere who gave high praise to Beau's John Deere shoes and he even got to do an interview. The last stop of the day was to the Indy 500's speedway where they got to ride on the actual track and do the kiss of victory. The final part of the tour was the museum filled with famous cars and information of their drivers. (Erick McConnon)

On the morning of the 26th, we woke up in Indianapolis early to head off to Banker's Life Fieldhouse, the home stadium of the Indiana Pacers, for the 4th general session of the national FFA Convention, the second and last one we attended. The session started out with the retiring address of Gracie Furnish and Piper Merritt, the National Eastern and Central District Vice Presidents, respectively. Next, Mary Snapp, the Corporate VP of Microsoft spoke about technological literacy and how important it will be to agriculture. She mentioned some of the technological advancements that have been made in her lifetime, like the computer and internet, and how they've drastically changed agriculture and everyday life. She talked about the agricultural advancements Microsoft was making, and how they were using AI to help rural farmers in India increase crop yields. She ended by explaining how technological improvements, agricultural or otherwise, would soon be changing our lives, and to be preparing for them. The session wrapped up with an award ceremony for every Honorary American Degree recipient. The Honorary American Degree is only awarded to the most distinguished individuals who have dedicated their lives to agriculture on a national level. Only around 230 people and three companies received this award this year.

After the session, we slowly made our way back to the trade show, where we stayed until after lunch. We then took a walk through downtown Indianapolis to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. This obelisk-shaped spire towers 284 feet and 6 inches over historic Indianapolis. This monument was constructed in 1888 out of limestone from a nearby Indiana quarry. The monument was created to honor Indianans that served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Frontier War, and the Spanish American War. The monument is covered and surrounded in sculptures depicting soldiers from various time periods and famous people and moments from Indiana's history. You can actually walk up a staircase all the way to the top of the monument, which consists of 330 steps in a spiral staircase along the inside of the monument. Of course, our entire chapter took on the challenge of climbing it.

Then we walked back to the convention hall to attend a workshop called "Failing Forward" about how to turn your failures into successes, and how famous people did in the past. Finally, we ended off the day with a meal at Hard Rock Café, a classic rock themed café filled to the brim with mementos from famous musicians. We then made our way back to the hotel and promptly passed out from an event-filled day.

Saturday and Sunday were fairly uneventful, mostly filled with nonstop bus riding, early mornings, and uncomfortable naps. We left Indianapolis at six in the morning and got to Sioux Falls around seven that evening. We left Sioux Falls at 5:30 AM, eager to get back home and get off the bus. We dropped off Baker and Ekalaka members at Alzada around 1:00 PM, and got to Broadus around 2:00 PM and went our separate ways. (Bailey Smith)


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