Colorado FFA members get a look into the future |

Colorado FFA members get a look into the future

Eric Bellamy, Greeley, Colo.FFA reporter Michelle Koroshetz of Crested Butte delivers her retiring address at the annual convention on Wednesday in Greeley. Koroshetz gave an emotional speech referring to her father's losing battle with cancer.

When high school students graduate or reach the age where they are no longer able to participate in FFA, Colorado has another place for them to land – especially if they want to continue in agriculture.

The Colorado Young Farmers Educational Association is the next step up from FFA and Colorado has 14 chapters scattered around the state. Many of the 2008-2009 state officers were at Tuesday’s sessions of the 81st Colorado FFA Convention at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley. That convention concludes Thursday.

Maureen Whittington, who farms with her husband, Dale, along the Logan/Washington county line south of Fleming, is the present state president of the Young Farmers. Dale is a past president of the organization and Maureen said that once her term ends, they will have spent nine years on the state officer team.

Ironically, neither of them were involved in FFA as high school students, but are looking forward to their oldest son, Derek, becoming a member of the Fleming chapter when he enters high school this fall. They have two other children, Drew, who will be a seventh grader, and Lauren, a fourth grader.

“I grew up in Potter, Neb., which didn’t have a FFA program and Dale is a native of Fleming, but when he went to school, Fleming didn’t have a program, either,” she said.

They became involved in Young Farmers because of the opportunities the organization offered, which continue. Those, she said, include education and leadership programs. And the group remains actively involved with FFA chapters around the state, providing scholarships to FFA members who further their education. Annually, it provides three $500 scholarships to college freshmen and sophomores, a $750 scholarship to a college junior and one for $1,250 for a senior.

“We do that in cooperation with Case IH, which provides the use of a tractor that we auction at our state institute each year,” Whittington said. The organization also provides awards for FFA programs and develops a network that leads to friendships all over the country.

The Colorado association, she said, is in the process of developing a program that will provide telephone numbers of Young Farmer members around the nation in a directory so that when traveling, a member can seek help from a member in the area in case of vehicle breakdown problems.

And in her speech to the FFA delegation Tuesday afternoon, Whittington passed out a set of four questions to members. The answers will be put in a drawing and the first FFA chapter drawn with all the correct answers will be awarded $100.

“That should be fun,” she said.

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