FFA Convention has a rousing send-off

Posted on Nov 2, 2013
Joined by Host Committee Chairman David S. Beck and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the FFA members from the Greater Louisville area celebrated the kickoff to their national convention.
Joined by Host Committee Chairman David S. Beck and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, the FFA members from the Greater Louisville area celebrated the kickoff to their national convention.

KFB Executive Vice President David S. Beck was the host of a widely-publicized October 2 kickoff news conference for the National FFA Convention. A former state FFA officer from the Lyon County chapter, Beck served as Chairman of the Host Committee for the 86th annual National FFA Convention which was held October 30 through November 2 in Louisville.

Local FFA members planted mums along Main Street.
Local FFA members planted mums along Main Street.

As part of the kickoff event at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, more than 80 FFA members from the Greater Louisville area gathered in downtown Louisville to plant mums. As is the tradition, FFA members do many hours of volunteer work during their stay in the host city of their annual convention.

FFA first brought the huge convention to Louisville from Kansas City in 1999 and KFB was instrumental in helping the organization acquire sponsors and volunteer workers. The event remained in Louisville through 2005 before moving to Indianapolis, which is the home base of the National FFA organization.

The event returns to Louisville for three years and then is anticipated to rotate with Indianapolis, but that is not firmed up. Indianapolis has the contract for 2016-17-18 and then Louisville has the option to have the convention in 2019-20-21.

Officials estimate the event pumps about $40 million into the local economy, making it easily the most lucrative convention business for Louisville.  In fact, the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that the value of FFA nearly triples the number two event, which is the Mid-America Trucking Show ($14.1 million). The National Farm Machinery Show is next, at $13.3 million.

KFB Executive Vice President David S. Beck gave the opening remarks at the event in front of the Kentucky Arts Center. He was joined as a featured speaker by (from left) Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, National FFA President Clay Sapp and Lee Weyland, Chairman of the Downtown Louisville Management District Board.
KFB Executive Vice President David S. Beck gave the opening remarks at the event in front of the Kentucky Arts Center. He was joined as a featured speaker by (from left) Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, National FFA President Clay Sapp and Lee Weyland, Chairman of the Downtown Louisville Management District Board.

The kickoff event attracted all of the Louisville TV stations and was advanced by a lengthy article in the Courier-Journal. As host, Beck made opening remarks and then introduced the other  speakers, who were Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, National FFA President Clay Sapp and Lee Weyland, Chairman of the Louisville Downtown Management District Board. They were surrounded by the FFA members who had planted mums along Main Street.

“This is big business for Louisville,” Beck began, “but it is not just important for us; this is the future of agriculture.

“The young people who attend this convention will cultivate the food and products we need and use. They will be learning first-hand the science, the art and the passion that goes into this exciting field.”

Beck went on to outline how FFA contributes to the agriculture industry and promotes community service, as well.

Some 1,500 visiting FFA Convention attendees were scheduled to donate time to community projects and service organizations.

KFB Executive Vice President David S. Beck visited with National FFA President Clay Sapp  following the news conference.
KFB Executive Vice President David S. Beck visited with National FFA President Clay Sapp following the news conference.

Mayor Fischer emphasized how the convention benefits the city. “When it comes to groups we like to have here, FFA is at the top of the list. They bring a lot of excitement to our community.”

Referring to the community service work, he said “to me, that says something when a group comes into our city and just doesn’t come in and out. It tells me they want to make an imprint on our community.”

Noting an expected attendance of 56,000 FFAers, Mayor Fischer said “that’s a lot of leaders; people who will shape our country to what it’s going to be.”

KFB continued its strong commitment to the convention via direct sponsorships, recruiting sponsors, providing contest judges and other volunteer workers plus organization and planning assistance.

Tagged Post Topics Include: Clay Sapp, Courier-Journal, David Beck, Greg Fischer, Kansas City, Kentucky Center for the Arts, KFB, Lee Weyland, Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Louisville Downtown Management District Board, Mid-America Trucking Show, National Farm Machinery Show, National FFA Convention, National FFA Organization