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FFA: Not just for farmers anymore

Jaclyn Dingels posing with her sheep.
Photo courtesy of Jaclyn Dingels
Jaclyn Dingels with one of her sheep; Jaclyn has a 38-head Hampshire-Suffolk-cross ewe flock and 65 new lambs.

Many FFA members attending the recent Minnesota state convention on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota don't live on a farm. Some grew up farming but want to pursue careers in business, education, science or other fields. The National FFA Organization teaches leadership, personal growth and career skills through its agricultural education programs. 

Among the sea of blue blazers cruising around the Continuing Education and Conference Center near the state fairgrounds were four FFA members who took some time to sit down to talk with me for this video report.

Matt Huot and Tony Domnick live in the Morris area. Jaclyn Dingels and Ashley Ryan are from Redwood Falls. While they all have different backgrounds and different career aspirations, they have some things in common — they are all going to college and want to return to rural Minnesota to work after they graduate.

Matt Huot in the cow barn. He'd like to go into agriculture education.
Photo courtesy of Matt Huot
Matt Huot in the cow barn. He'd like to go into agriculture education.

One of the reasons the FFA has a convention is to connect members from around the state. In the past, it was more difficult for members to talk with each other and share ideas. Today’s technology, including social media, makes year-round communication much easier.

In the video, these four FFA members talk about life in smaller towns, and how their lives are different from those of their parents’ generation because of technological advances.

This project is made possible by a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. Join the conversation on Facebook's Live From Rural Minnesota page, and follow the project on Tumblr and Twitter.

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