The National FFA Officer Team will be led by a Californian for the second straight year. Luke O’Leary of San Luis Obispo will be serving as the President of the 2018-19 National FFA team. The announcement was made official at the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis after delegates cast their votes for who would represent the organization for the coming year.
O’Leary is currently an agricultural leadership and development major at Texas A&M University, after having served as the 2017-2018 state president of the California FFA Association. It will be the second consecutive year that an FFA member from California will be leading the National FFA Officer team. Breanna Holbert, an agricultural education major at the California State University of Chico and the first female African American elected to the office of president, served in the position during the 2017-2018 term.
While serving as state president last year, O’Leary addressed members of the House Committee on Agriculture at a farm bill listening session at the Modesto Junior College Ag Pavilion where he offered a reminder of the relationship between the agriculture industry and agricultural education. AgNet West spoke to O’Leary at the event, in which he emphasized the far-reaching impact that an agricultural education can have on students and the overall community.
“The agriculture industry isn’t always what we first think of being that farmer on a tractor. While that is a large percentage of our industry and definitely vital to what our industry is all about, there’s plenty of other parts, from vertical farming in urban areas and rooftop gardens, as well as the more communications side or the policy side of those in the offices working to support the farmers out in the field,” O’Leary stated.
National FFA officers will travel more than 100,000 miles during their year-long term, providing leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education. O’Leary noted that the nearly 700,000 student members throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a great opportunity to take full advantage of the various resources available through FFA. “They’re receiving these tangible skills that are going to impact their lives by setting them up for both college and career readiness right out of high school,” O’Leary noted.
Listen to O’Leary’s interview below.