“The method may change, but the mission never does.” Katherine Taylor, Programs and Office Manager for the Montana FFA Foundation, reflects on this years’ experience planning the annual John Deere Agricultural Expo. John Deere Ag Expo is set to take place in various locations around the state, and from the comfort of your own homes November 9-14.
John Deere Ag Expo (JDAE) is normally hosted in partnership with the John Deere Dealers across the state of Montana to bring 1,600 students, advisors, and volunteers to Montana State University campus to take part in leadership development workshops, explore career opportunities with industry partners, and compete in Career Development Events.
Just like nearly everything else this year, this event looks a little different this year. After planning and executing a virtual State Convention in the spring, the Montana FFA Foundation worked with teachers, advisors, county health officials, and supporters across the state to identify how to make statewide competitions both educational and safe for students to participate in.
Out of these discussions, the Montana FFA Foundation identified that engaging students in experiential learning is more important ever. That is why they are collaborating with John Deere dealers across the state to set up 14 tentative locations where in-person events will take place November 13-14. At each of these locations, four Career Development Events (CDEs) will take place.
However, Ag Expo is not limited to the four in-person competitions. Multiple online competitions will take place earlier that week starting on November 9 and will conclude on November 12.
“We are excited to facilitate opportunities for students to test their knowledge, both virtually and in person,” Taylor states. “This year has certainly provided it’s challenges, but we are so proud to work with our supporters and students to ensure we can continue to provide these opportunities for student growth and development.”
Virtual or in-person, it literally takes hundreds of volunteers to make this event possible. The Montana FFA Foundation is fortunate to have our partners at John Deere, local FFA Alumni and Supporters groups, and local agricultural organizations and businesses.
Hundreds of judges and volunteers are needed to facilitate the in-person events, which include Agronomy, Agricultural Sales, Agricultural Mechanics and Technical Systems (ATMS), and Veterinary Science. Interested individuals can go to montanaffa.org to find the competitions closest to you!
If folks don’t have the option to help in-person, there are still opportunities to volunteer from the comfort of home! There are 16 competitions taking place online including, but not limited, to speaking, parliamentary procedure, and agribusiness competitions. Interested individuals can learn more about how to get involved in this year’s monumental John Deere Ag Expo by accessing this informational sign up: https://forms.gle/xVmR4oL5qRRseqqW7 or going to montanaffa.org to see the Ag Expo schedule of events and updated event information.
Another way to participate in this event is through the Montana FFA first ever Virtual Career Fair. Exhibitors will submit a 1-3 minute promotional video that FFA members will have access to from November 12 until the end of the year. Exhibitors will be entered into a drawing to win a free booth at the 2021 Montana FFA Trade Show in the spring. Organizations can find more information and register for the Virtual Career Fair here: https://montanaffa.org/events/foundation-events/
The Montana FFA Foundation supports 99 FFA chapters across the state of Montana, representing over 5,000 members. The Montana FFA Foundation’s mission is to cultivate partnerships, promote awareness and secure resources to enhance Agricultural Education and the Montana FFA Association.
Montana FFA Foundation – 2020