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Rising Leaders: More than 300 FFA Members Attend Greenhand Motivational Conference at LU

Jenny Schaben | January 17th, 2024

More than 300 first-year Future Farmers of America (FFA) students from 21 high schools journeyed to Lincoln University of Missouri (LU) to attend the annual Area 8 Greenhand Motivational Conference on January 8, 2024. The Greenhand Motivational Conference allows new FFA members to familiarize themselves with the program and learn how to become more involved while being positive role models. As a youth organization, FFA actively promotes leadership, teamwork and a deep understanding of the agricultural industry among its members. 

Dr. Douglas Lavergne addresses new FFA members, emphasizing the significance of maintaining a positive attitude.

Dr. Douglas Lavergne addresses new FFA members, emphasizing the significance of maintaining a positive attitude.

During the event’s opening remarks, Dr. Douglas LaVergne, Dean of LU College of Agriculture, Environmental and Human Sciences (CAEHS), offered words of encouragement, emphasizing the importance of learning and growing. LaVergne spoke of the impact of a positive attitude on life and success, urging the audience to consider their mindset during the conference. “As new members, this is a start to a long journey in FFA and into your professional lives. There are two things that you can always control — your attitude and your effort. The greater the attitude, the higher you will go in life.”

FFA State Officers of the Greenhand Conference engage and educate new members by presenting entertaining and informative performances through comedic skits.

The Greenhand Motivational Conference, orchestrated by the Missouri State FFA Officer Team and assisted by the Area 8 Officer Team, serves as the inaugural event for new FFA members beyond their school chapter. These State FFA Officers, college students holding leadership roles at the state level, serve as guides for the upcoming generation of FFA students. Through engaging skits and workshops, they actively encourage students to build character skills, explore talents and try new opportunities within the program. 

During breakout sessions at the conference, students gained a deeper understanding of the diverse opportunities provided by FFA, offering a platform for engagement in a wide range of agricultural activities. These include but are not limited to livestock judging, public speaking, community service and hands-on agricultural projects. State FFA Officers also spoke on the importance of making a positive difference within yourself, your school and your community.


The Greenhand Motivational Conference provides members with the opportunity to participate in dancing, creating an enjoyable atmosphere for the event.

New members were also encouraged to set goals for their education, career and FFA experience. The Future Farmers of America program aims to positively impact students' lives by developing their potential for outstanding leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Area 8 FFA President Ivy Elwell commented afterward, “Today went well. It's important that all first-year FFA students come together to learn about opportunities in FFA, so they can grow their leadership skills and become our next generation of FFA leaders.”


During workshops, new members learn about various activities such as competitions, conferences and community service projects that they can become involved in for FFA.

The FFA Greenhand Conference for Area 8 is held annually at Lincoln University. FFA alumna Amy Bax, CAEHS special assistant to the dean, helped organize the event. She reported, “We at Lincoln University are consistently grateful that Area 8 chooses this institution for its Greenhand Motivational Conference. It is an honor for us at Lincoln University to host the event. We enjoy the energy the students bring to campus.”
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