Photo by Josh Bledsoe/National FFA
National FFA representatives, local agri-business leaders, and state FFA officers gathered at the University of Maine at Presque Isle on April 11 for a National FFA Workshop Meeting. Once every 5 years, the national and regional leadership meets with each state to address priorities for strengthening local and statewide programs. This visit to UMPI brought leaders from around the state at a time when UMPI is strengthening its connection to agriculture through a new academic program in agriculture. Next steps include revitalizing the campus FFA organization and collaborating with FFA chapters in Aroostook and statewide.
Meeting participants included, from left to right, front row: Whitnie Bradbury, Past State FFA President and Maine FFA Alumni; Kaley Norsworthy, Maine FFA State Vice President; Tom Hale, Maine FFA Alumni and Retired Agriculture Teacher/FFA Advisor, Caribou; Whitney Williams, Mars Hill FFA Chapters Advisor, junior high school and high school; Darick Williams, Maine FFA Alumni and Past State FFA President; and Richard Brzozoski, University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Back row: Barbara Blackstone, UMPI Interim Dean of the College of Education and College of Professional Programs; Doug Robertson, Maine FFA State Advisor, Maine Department of Education; Peter Hallowell, Vice President of Farm Credit East in Presque Isle; James Nelson, Farm Credit East; Janet Perry, Ashland High School FFA Chapter Advisor; George Criner, Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture, University of Maine, Orono; Dayna McCrum, Maine FFA State President; Kevin Marquis, President Maine Association of Agricultural Educators; Sukhwinder Bali and Dr. Lakesh Sharma, who both serve as University of Maine Cooperative Extension Assistant Professors and UMPI Assistant Professors of Sustainable Agriculture; Dr. Jason Johnston, UMPI Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dale Crabtree, National FFA Division Director, Convention and Related Activities and Services; and Kevin Keith, National FFA Local Program Success Specialist-New England. Not pictured is Josh Bledsoe, National FFA Chief Operating Officer.