FARGO — The North Dakota FFA concluded its 87th annual state convention Friday at North Dakota State University.
The FFA is an organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. North Dakota has 84 chapters around the state.
The weeklong state convention holds several competitive events, including dairy cattle evaluation, public speaking and agriculture mechanics. Results of the competitions were announced Friday.
“The state convention is wonderful,” Executive Director of the North Dakota FFA Foundation Beth Bakke Stenehjem said. “The students take the skills they learned in the classroom and apply them. It’s really a great organization because it’s student-run.”
During the convention, students stayed in NDSU dormitories and ate meals on campus. The convention also helped career development. Students attended a career fair, took industry tours and saw motivational speakers.
About 1,200 members – each wearing their official FFA uniform – packed into a hot and humid Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse to view the closing ceremonies.
Friday’s session ended with the election of new officers.
Alfred Schwalbe of Beulah, N.D., was elected FFA president. Schwalbe said he plans to be a positive influence on FFA members during his presidency.
“There were three different things I really stressed in my campaign, and it was taking chances, making mistakes and getting messy,” Schwalbe said. “That’s what I really want to accomplish this year.”
It was an emotional event for the seven retiring state officers, who hung up their official jackets for the last time and received a standing ovation from the audience.
Outgoing president Claire Endres gave her retiring address Friday and said she is sad to leave the organization.
“I built many relationships that I’m going to carry with me for the rest of my life,” Endres, an agriculture education student at NDSU, said. “I can go anywhere and see someone that I know from FFA. It’s so great to see all these people coming here for the same reason, for our love of agriculture and for the FFA.”
New state officers
President: Alfred Schwalbe, Beulah
Vice President: Stetson Ellingson, Mandan
Secretary: Madison Bodine, Velva
Treasurer: Paul Moffet, Wyndmere
Reporter: Jerrod MacDonald, Bismarck
Sentinel: Colbey Steeke, Scranton
Parliamentarian: Matt Stroh, Killdeer
Retiring state officers
President: Claire Endres
Vice President: Katelyn Oland
Secretary: Brock Saewert
Treasurer: Nicollette Bitz
Reporter: Ashley Stoppleworth
Sentinel: Angela Leier
Parliamentarian: Brittney Aasand