Illinois FFA hits record membership despite pandemic related challenges

Illinois FFA has hit record student membership this year, despite several semesters of pandemic related challenges.

Executive Director Mindy Bunselmeyer tells Brownfield there are 21,855 students currently involved in Illinois FFA and around 37,000 students enrolled in agriculture classes.

“Those numbers are very exciting especially coming off such a challenging year for our high school ag teacher. I can’t even imagine being in their shoes and trying to teach both remote and in person. It speaks volumes to what our teachers are doing at the local level to engage students and to keep FFA alive.”

She says in-person contests and conferences are back in full swing, but they are still offering virtual and single day event options to accommodate every school’s travel policy. They have also struggled to find enough host sites.  

“Because it is more challenging for our community colleges, colleges and even high schools to host events where we have students coming from all over the state. But, so far we have not had to conduct anything strictly virtually and we see that as a win in our column.”

Bunselmeyer says they are hopeful that members from across the state can return to the Bank of Springfield Center in June for an in-person, single location state convention, but it is too early to make that call.

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