New Acquaintance Approach

Posted: December 20, 2021

FFA Chapter Leaders Gather for Officer Summit

“FFA Acquaintance Day programs ensure a stronger tomorrow for Illinois agriculture by fostering relationships between local FFA chapters and county Farm Bureaus. Acquaintance Day events are encouraged to include an introduction of the family of companies, overview of IFB operations, and explanation of how FFA members can get involved after high school.” Illinois Farm Bureau

Forty FFA members and six ag teachers met at DeKalb County Farm Bureau in early November for an Officer Summit that served as this year’s FFA Acquaintance program.

Local agribusinesswoman and a past Illinois State FFA President Lynn Byington speaks during the FFA Officer Summit.

The Officer Summit was a new approach to DeKalb County’s Acquaintance event, which has focused primarily on career exposure and industry tours for several years. This year, FFA chapter officers and other members interested in chapter leadership were invited to a catered lunch and program.

Local agribusinesswoman and farmer Lynn Byington was the featured speaker at the summit. Lynn leveraged her experience as the 1995-1996 Illinois State FFA President in her presentation, challenging students to think about how to engage their network for themselves as well as for their chapters. “As a young leader, you have much to offer,” she noted, adding, “You also have much to learn.”

Officer Summit participants work in teams to generate ideas. Shown here are Ally Yoakum and Lorelei Darlak of Sycamore.

Lynn’s presentation served as the springboard to the rest of the program, which bore the theme, “Farm Bureau and You: Companies, Careers, Collaboration.” A short video provided an overview of Illinois Farm Bureau and its affiliated companies.

Following the video, Agronomy Sales and Marketing Manager Adam Day spoke to the group about employment opportunities at Conserv FS. Farm Bureau staff shared information about local opportunities for young people, including scholarships, Young Leaders, and volunteering for Ag in the Classroom.

Bailey Botterman with Genoa-Kingston FFA and Chance Wackerlin, Hinckley-Big Rock FFA, presented their team’s ideas to the participants of the Officer Summit.

Participants were then challenged to work in teams to answer the question: “How can DeKalb County Farm Bureau, IFB, and its affiliates engage you: FFA members in high school and beyond?” Each team spent time generating and discussing possible answers and then reported back to the whole group.

The DeKalb-Kendall-Ogle Agency of COUNTRY Financial and Conserv FS co-sponsored the Officer
Summit with Farm Bureau.