Lumberton FFA members

Chapter will travel to  95th National FFA Convention and Expo in October

LUMBERTON –The Lumberton Chapter of the Future Farmers of America has been named a finalist in the National FFA National Chapter awards.

The FFA chapter, comprised of students at Lumberton High School, will travel to Indianapolis to attend the 95th National FFA Convention and Expo held Oct. 26-29.

According to information from the National FFA, students “will be competing and being recognized before more than 60,000 FFA members, parents business and education leaders from across the nation” at the event.

The expo also will offer networking opportunities with various organizations including Fortune 500 companies.

“The National FFA Convention & Expo is about growing the next generation of leaders. During this event, students will be able to find out who they are, who they want to become and how they can change how the world grows,” said Candace Grimsley, a Lumberton FFA adviser.

 Competing for national awards

Grimsley explained what it takes for chapters to make it to the National Convention.

“To compete for state gold, silver or bronze awards, chapters must qualify for the superior chapter award and complete Form II in the National Chapter Award Application. Chapters use Form II to report goals, plans of action and results/evaluation on three activities for each division: Growing Leaders, Building Communities and Strengthening Agriculture,” she said.

“State judges rank the chapters as gold, silver or bronze based on the rubric. Lumberton FFA Chapter ranked gold. The state’s top gold chapter award winners are eligible to compete for the National FFA 3-star, 2-star or 1-star ratings. Lumberton FFA received a 3-star rating,” she said.

Chapters like Lumberton FFA which received the 3-star rating are eligible to compete for National Premier Chapter Awards that recognize the top chapters in the following divisions: Growing Leaders, Building Communities and Strengthening Agriculture, she said.

“Of those top ten in each division, a top premier chapter will be chosen in each division,” she said. “Lumberton FFA is being recognized as a top ten premier chapter for Building Communities during the National Convention in October for their ‘Bake the World a Better Place’ activity.”

The activity was the result of a partnership with the Robeson County Department of Social Services for the annual project.

“FFA members and local bakeries donated baked goods to this activity for members to sell at two locations in our community. All proceeds from this event were used to purchase new bikes for foster families in Robeson county during the holiday season,” she said.

The journey to the National FFA Convention

The opportunity to compete at a national level comes after the chapter set a goal in the 2021-2022 school year to become one of the top three chapters in the state, according to Grimsley.

“Through hard work and determination the goal was achieved and Lumberton FFA was recognized as the top chapter in the state through the National Chapter Award Program,” Grimsley said.

But the recognition came after students committed to the work it would take to get there.

“The students really took charge of their ideas and worked with our community to accomplish their goals. Proud is really an understatement of how I feel about the Lumberton FFA Chapter,” Grimsley said.

PSRC Superintendent Dr. Freddie Williamson shared congratulatory remarks about the students’ work and journey to the National FFA Expo.

“The Public Schools of Robeson County commends students for their hard work and efforts as they take part in the National FFA Convention and Expo,” Dr. Williamson said.

“We also applaud the leadership of FFA advisers who help educate our students on the importance of agricultural education and how they can become involved in work that is vital to the wellbeing of local communities and society as a whole,” Williamson added.

Annual work

Each year, the chapter participates in various projects as members work hard to make a difference in their community.

“The students have worked extremely hard and set high goals for their chapter,” she said. 

“Students plan, implement and execute at least 15 activities throughout the year to improve chapter operations that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture.”

Lumberton FFA’s goals

Grimsley said the goal of the program is to cultivate within students a passion for agriculture and an appreciation for how it shapes the world. The organization also serves to educate students about how they can make an impact in their world through agricultural vocations.

“Through their time in FFA I hope students find their passion for life and learn to AGvocate for agriculture,” she said. “FFA teaches not only agriculture education but leadership skills that will last a lifetime.”

Building on momentum

The chapter plans to continue its quest for excellence and the strong momentum it has built in the last school year.

“This summer, the officer team attended a week-long training where they collaborated with each other and created their program of activities for the upcoming school year,” she said.

“They have lots of activities planned to continue to ‘grow leaders, build communities, and strengthen agriculture’ such as starting a story time with the local elementary schools, continuing their partnership with DSS to organize a coat drive for foster children and families and working with the county parks and rec department to enhance the dog park on Meadow Road,” she added.