I’m addressing you today from Indianapolis, IN, where I’m attending the 83rd National FFA Convention, serving as a volunteer for the Mitchell (SD) FFA Chapter and to help coach my middle sister, Courtney, in the job interview competition. I will admit it feels odd being on the other side of the coin, where it’s not me gearing up for another contest and competing; however, it’s a different kind of excitement, and I’m happy to be here.
It’s hard to believe that three years ago, I became widely known for the peaceful walkout I orchestrated at the National FFA Convention during a performance by country singer CArrie Underwood, a Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) supporter. At the time, it was viewed as a radical move, standing out against one of the leading youth agriculture organizations, and I’m often asked if I would do things differently next time.
The answer is absolutely not. I firmly believed that the agriculture industry shouldn’t stand behind a country singer who supports an organization such as HSUS. After four years, the message is loud and clear to farmers and ranchers: HSUS is working every day to put us out of business. They will use their millions of dollars to blast TV commercials, push forward ballot initiatives and work with Hollywood to manipulate the popular perceptions about who we are and what we do. I’m not ashamed of the ruckus I caused in Indianapolis three years ago, and it’s great to be reunited with the city and recall old memories from that concert.
What battles are you currently fighting with your state HSUS activists? How have their initiatives impacted your state? On a happier note, what are some of your fondest memories from your FFA days? Did you ever go to the national convention? Join in the conversation in the comments section below. Thanks for your thoughts!