Idaho FFA students converge on Boise
BOISE — More than 550 Idaho FFA students from around the state got a first-hand look at the legislative process Jan. 27 during the group’s annual “Day on the Hill” event.
The students met face-to-face with their local legislators and many visited with industry leaders, including officials representing the state’s main commodity groups and Idaho State Department of Agriculture.
Idaho FFA Association State Coordinator Casey Zufelt said it’s important for FFA members to be able to visit the Capitol building and see for themselves how the legislative process works.
“It’s a big deal to see it first-hand instead of just learning about it in … class,” she said.
In addition to helping students to learn more about Idaho government, the event also serves as a way to educate lawmakers about the importance of agricultural education, said Alyssa Stastny, the state FFA treasurer.
“One of the greatest things about this (event) is we get to have our members talk and meet with legislators and let them know how important agricultural education and the FFA is to them,” she said.
Shane Stevenson, an FFA advisor at Meridian High School, took his students on a visit to the ISDA’s seed testing laboratory and weights and measures department.
A former FFA student who attended this event himself, Stevenson said he learned how important it is for students to actually experience what’s going on in state government and industry and meet some of the main players.
“It was something we saw on the news but until you sat down with people, you didn’t truly understand it,” he said. “It brings relevance to students.”
The students received a warm welcome from state leaders during a luncheon.
“We really do support all you do … because you do represent the next generation of agriculture and everything that is going to make our state better,” said Idaho First Lady Lori Otter, a former FFA member from Kimberly.
Lt. Gov. Brad Little told FFA students that the three most important things in moving Idaho forward are: receiving a good education and learning to apply it, learning to work hard, and participating in government.
“You get an ‘A’ in all three,” said Little, a rancher.
Idaho State FFA President Brett Wilder presented honorary FFA memberships to Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, and Rep. Julie Van Orden, R-Blackfoot.
Wilder said Mortimer, a businessman, has been a long-time advocate for Idaho FFA “and understand that ag education is vital to the state’s economy.”
Van Orden, an agribusiness owner, “has demonstrated her support for Idaho FFA … and is a champion of the current Idaho agricultural education initiative,” Wilder said.