A to Z: National FFA Convention & Expo Guide

Whether you’re an FFA member, an educator, or simply interested in agriculture and leadership, the National FFA Convention & Expo provides a rich and diverse experience that celebrates the achievements of the next generation of leaders in agriculture and beyond!

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In less than one month, the heart of America will beat with the pulse of agricultural excellence as the National FFA Convention & Expo descends upon Indianapolis. Get ready to embark on an exhilarating journey through the world of FFA, where innovation meets tradition, and passion converges with purpose.

This guide is your passport to a whirlwind adventure, an indispensable companion crafted meticulously to ensure that your convention experience is nothing short of extraordinary. From A to Z, we’ve covered every aspect, every event, and every inspiring moment that awaits you in Indianapolis.

So, buckle up and get ready to immerse yourself in the spirit of FFA, because in less than thirty days, the excitement begins. Get set to make memories, forge connections, and embrace the limitless possibilities that await you at the A to Z National FFA Convention & Expo in Indy!

A - Awards and Competitions: The National FFA Convention & Expo is a showcase of excellence, where thousands of FFA members gather to be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments. These achievements range from winning statewide acclaim to competing for national recognition. Notable awards and competitions include:

  • Agriscience Fair: This competition recognizes and celebrates student researchers who explore the application of agricultural scientific principles and emerging technologies in agricultural enterprises. It’s a platform where innovative ideas and discoveries are shared.
  • American FFA Degree: Considered the highest honor bestowed upon FFA members, this award is granted to those who have displayed unwavering commitment to the FFA and achieved significant milestones in their supervised agricultural experiences. Less than one percent of FFA members receive this prestigious recognition annually.
  • American Star Awards: These awards honor the best among the thousands of American FFA Degree recipients. Finalists for these awards have demonstrated mastery in production, finance, management, and/or research, showcasing their exceptional skills and dedication.
  • Career and Leadership Development Events (CDEs and LDEs): These competitive events serve as an extension of agricultural education. FFA members in grades 7 to 12 can participate in CDEs and LDEs, which help develop college and career readiness skills. They provide hands-on experience and promote learning beyond the classroom.
  • Honorary Awards: FFA relies on exceptional teachers, individuals, and companies that contribute significantly to its mission. Each year, these outstanding contributors receive prestigious awards such as the Distinguished Service Citation, VIP Citation, or the Honorary American FFA Degree.
  • National Chapter Awards: The National Chapter Award Program recognizes FFA chapters that actively implement the organization’s mission and strategies. It highlights the collective efforts of FFA chapters across the country in promoting agricultural education and leadership.
  • Proficiency Awards: These awards honor FFA members who, through their supervised agricultural experiences, have developed specialized skills applicable to their future careers. These skills represent a commitment to personal growth and career success.

B - Bag Policy: While attending the National FFA Convention & Expo, attendees can bring bags, backpacks, and purses of reasonable size. However, please note that these items will be subject to inspection by event staff before entry. To ensure a smooth entry process, be sure to remove any prohibited items from your bags before arriving at the venue. It’s important to note that no bag or item checks are available at any of the convention venues, so careful preparation is essential.

C - Concerts: One of the highlights of the National FFA Convention & Expo is the exclusive concert held at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. To attend these concerts, you’ll need both a valid concert ticket and your convention registration name badge. These concerts offer a unique opportunity to enjoy live performances by talented artists and bands, adding entertainment to your convention experience.

D - Dining Options: Indianapolis offers a diverse range of dining options to cater to various tastes and budgets. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a more formal dining experience, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and eateries in downtown Indianapolis. Be sure to check out the Visit Indy Eat & Drink page for recommendations and options located conveniently close to the convention venues.

E - Ethical Standards: FFA members are expected to uphold the highest ethical standards at all times. This commitment extends to being a credit to the organization, chapter, school, community, and family. Members pledge to:

  • Develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.
  • Make a positive difference in the lives of others.
  • Dress neatly and appropriately for the occasion.
  • Respect the rights of others and their property.
  • Be courteous, honest, and fair in their interactions.
  • Communicate in an appropriate, purposeful, and positive manner.
  • Demonstrate good sportsmanship by being modest in victory and generous in defeat.
  • Stay informed about FFA programs and activities and actively participate.
  • Establish and enhance their skills through agricultural education to pursue successful careers.
  • Appreciate and promote diversity within the organization.
  • Adherence to these ethical standards ensures a positive and respectful environment for all attendees.

F - FFA Delegates: At the National FFA Convention & Expo, a total of 475 student delegates representing each state FFA association gather to play a pivotal role in shaping the future direction of the National FFA Organization. These delegates are instrumental in setting membership dues, electing the next National FFA Officer Team, recommending new initiatives, and suggesting changes to FFA policies and programs. Their involvement allows the student voice to influence the strategic decisions and priorities of the National FFA Organization. To learn more about the role of National FFA Delegates, you can visit FFA.org/Delegates for additional information.

K- Keynote Speakers:

  • Opening Session Nov. 1- Juan Bendaña is a renowned speaker, author, and DJ, who lights up high school and university campuses worldwide, along with international conferences. With a captivating presence, he addresses over 50,000 students, educators, and parents annually across Canada and the United States. As the Founder of The 100 Day Playbook, he guides students to forge better habits, enhance productivity, and optimize their lives. Beyond his impressive accomplishments, Juan’s diverse background as a former snowboard instructor and sushi aficionado, coupled with his ability to recite every word of the Lion King, adds a unique flair to his persona.
  • Fourth General Session Friday, Nov. 3- Corey Flournoy boasts an extensive career in and outside of the agricultural industry. Originally from Chicago, he’s a proud alumnus of the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. In 1994, Corey etched his name in FFA history as our organization’s first urban and African-American national president. His academic journey led him to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a degree in agricultural economics. Taking it up a notch, he went on to conquer a master’s in agricultural education from Michigan State University. Currently, Corey is the Executive in Residence for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to help us advance our EDI strategy, initiatives and efforts at national, state, and chapter level.

L- Local Attractions: Visit convention.FFA.org/tours or the convention mobile app for information about Indianapolis area attractions, including Downtown Indianapolis, Visit Indiana, Indiana Agritourism and surrounding areas.

M- Maps: Detailed, venue-specific maps are available online at Convention.FFA.org/Maps. Informational maps are also posted inside the Indiana Convention Center.

N- National Days of Service: As part of convention registration, attendees may sign up to serve at a local nonprofit to give back to the host city of Indianapolis. Morning (8:30 a.m.-noon) and afternoon (1:30-4 p.m.) shifts are available on Thursday, Nov. 2 and Friday, Nov. 3.

O - Officers: The National FFA Officer Team consists of six elected FFA members who serve a year-long term. While they are most visible as the entertaining hosts and inspirational keynote speakers during general sessions at the National FFA Convention & Expo, their responsibilities go far beyond these public appearances. National officers represent the interests and concerns of student members on the National FFA Board of Directors.

Official Dress: You’ll want to wear Official Dress at many events during the National FFA Convention & Expo. Here’s a guide to looking your best.

  • An official FFA jacket zipped to the top.
  • Black slacks and black socks/nylons or black skirts and black nylons.
  • White, collared blouse or white, collared shirt.
  • Official FFA tie or official FFA scarf.
  • Black dress shoes with closed heel and toe.

T- Travel Planning: Downtown Indianapolis is one of the most walkable downtowns in the country. On foot, visitors can reach hundreds of restaurants and attractions from their hotel and meeting space. An expansive network of climate-controlled skywalks connecting 4,700 hotel rooms to the convention center, Lucas Oil Stadium, a four-story mall, and restaurants keep it walkable in all weather. Use this page to find dining ideas, parking, shuttles, maps and ways to get around while visiting Indianapolis.

S- Shopping: Take advantage of the Shop FFA Mega Store with more than 43,000 square feet of FFA merchandise! Inside the Indiana Convention Center, Hall C, the store is stocked with convention tees, logo gear, Official Dress items, accessories, gifts and more. Nearby, visit the FFA Shopping Mall with multiple nationwide vendors.

#SPEAK AG Showcase: FFA no longer has a Hall of States. States can now share the story of agriculture in their areas through the #Speak Ag Showcase. States submitted their videos in the fall; winners were announced in October.

W - Weather: Indianapolis experiences varying weather conditions in the fall, and weather can change rapidly. It’s advisable to check weather forecasts regularly before your arrival. Additionally, stay tuned to weather alerts provided by the National Weather Service. In the event of inclement weather, such as lightning, strong winds, or thunderstorms, it’s essential to seek shelter indoors and wear appropriate clothing to protect yourself from the elements.

Wi-Fi: To enhance your convention experience, free wireless internet access is provided to all convention attendees. This enables you to stay connected, share your experiences, and access event-related information conveniently through your devices.

Workshops: Attending workshops at the Indiana Convention Center is an integral part of the National FFA Convention & Expo experience. These workshops serve different purposes:

  • Student Workshops: Designed to help FFA members develop premier leadership skills, achieve personal growth, and prepare for successful careers. These workshops provide practical knowledge and hands-on learning opportunities.
  • Teacher Workshops: Aimed at educators, these workshops offer new ideas and activities that can be integrated into their classrooms. They help teachers enhance their educational offerings and engage their students effectively.
  • To stay updated on the workshop schedule and topics, you can download the free convention mobile app or visit Convention.FFA.org/Schedule for a comprehensive list of workshops.

Story Via National FFA Organization

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