the blue coats (aka the blue jackets) and #TransformFFA

img_5371The Limited Edition DVD includes a picture of the Z Crew on the cover. ๐Ÿ™‚

FFA…something my family knows NOTHING about! Unfortunately, it isn’t offered in our rural school and my kids have more than once expressed how they wish it had been. What a great program…helping to raise amazing leaders! Attending the 89th National Convention and Expo was a real eye opener, to say the least!

Conrad Weaver called me last spring with this idea he had, “What if we could get a copy of the Great American Wheat Harvest into the hands of every chapter of FFA in the country? Will you help me find sponsors to make this happen?” I LOVED the idea. I immediately thought of and contacted New Holland Ag and MacDon Industries. Seems only appropriate…right?

After several months went by, Conrad contacted me to let me know New Holland was onboard as the major sponsor for this project and MacDon was onboard too. Sweet!!! One of the conditions with the New Holland sponsorship was that I attend the convention with Conrad. I, of course, jumped on this opportunity before he even got the words out of his mouth. Being able to attend AND be located in the New Holland booth was perfect! At that time, October seemed so far into the future. And…lots of wheat acres and miles to go before I could even think about it.

Well, October came much faster than I expected and it was time to pack my bags. It had been a while since I boarded an airplane and I was amazed at the changes made at the Omaha Eppley Airport. How did they do all of this since I was last here? Guess it’s been longer ago than I realized. I went from keeping a suitcase somewhat packed for the next trip to nothing happening – at all.

Conrad was at the Indianapolis Airport to pick me up the night before the convention was to start. It was a late flight, so we chatted on the way to the house he had rented for the time we would be in Indy (Air bnb). Once we arrived, it was “goodnight…be ready to leave at 7:30 am”. I unpacked a little and tried to relax – although, I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little bit excited to be involved with the convention. I’m a bit weird, I’m sure, because I LOVE being a part of the activity and feel of a trade show.

The next morning, we arrived at our destination and immediately saw the sea of blue coats! I was later told by a fellow blogger and friend of mine they are NOT blue coats…they are referred to asย blue jackets. UGH! I’ve already scored -100 points with the FFA organization! All I can say is how amazed I was by the number of kids (there were 64,000+ in attendance) and the sea of blue jackets was impressive!

Conrad and I set up our area in the New Holland Ag booth before the crowd made their way to the floor. I was so excited to get to be a part of their booth; I recognizedย a couple of familiar faces but had to be introduced to the others. It didn’t take long, however, before I felt right at home with them and knew the next several days were going to be a blast.

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img_5370Conrad getting things ready for the first day!

img_5386Missing a couple of key New Holland players but what a FUN group to get to hang out with!

I won’t bore you with the day-to-day details of the show…just the major ones. Conrad and I had a lot of conversations with kids, advisors and parents about the custom harvesting industry as we handed out the free copies of the GAWH movie. I was able to explain to a large number of kids what custom harvesting was and what we did. PERFECT! Being able to tell the story of the custom harvester is what I’m all about! We handed out over 7,000 copies of the movie all because New Holland Ag and MacDon Industries believed in us, the project and the story!

img_5389Not only did we hand out DVDs and posters…we also had sunglasses that “transformed” (folded up). They were a HIT with the kids!

img_5392I think we could be sisters! Dawn and I have been blogger friends for quite some time (a fellow Nebraskan) but have never met. We finally got the opportunity! Make sure and check out her blog – Lady of Ag.ย I’m certain you’ll fall in love with it!

And let me tell you what I realized after spending three days with these blue jackets. The future of agriculture is in great hands! These kids are the “cream of the crop”! Very seldom did you see anyone walking around the trade show or the halls with their heads down, looking at their phones. They were always very polite when they approached the booth with questions. I could see their involvement with Ag was going to be a large part of who they would become.

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While I was in the booth, Jamie Johansen with AgWired. com asked for an interview. We did the usual Zeorian Harvesting story and then she asked me what I was getting from being a part of the convention. This is what I told her. I said it’s a lot like the little wheat plant that is just beginning to grow – it gives me hope. The beauty of the tiny little green plant gives me hope of the 2017 wheat harvest and the blue jackets give me hope for the future of Ag. There will be storms and struggles in the process of getting to maturity but the harvest will come!

img_4936Hope for the 2017 Colorado wheat harvest. I took this just days before we headed home, home.

Thank you, New Holland Ag, MacDon and Conrad Weaver for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the National FFA convention. And for the opportunity to, yet again, share the story of the custom harvester!!

img_5381Cole testing his tractor driving skills on the NH simulator.ย 

cvnystvvyaartl9A little selfie stick fun with Rebecca and Conrad.

cvtdjx3wgaexmx9-1The Combine Dance – check it out!

If you know a FFA chapter that may not have been able to get their free copy of the DVD, please send Conrad an email at info@greatamericanwheatharvest.com (or leave your Chapter’s information in a comment below). Be sure to tell him I sent you! ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. I’d still like to have one of those blue coats (jackets)!

12 comments on “the blue coats (aka the blue jackets) and #TransformFFA

  1. Jan Edgecombe says:

    Always enjoy your blogs! So glad you and Conrad got to hand out the free DVD’s to the FFA chapters! And you got to talk about your life long Custom Harvesting!

  2. Christi Clare says:

    I miss seeing the blue jackets in Kansas City. We were home to the FFA convention for many many years. They are great kids.

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      I really wish my kids would have had the opportunity to have been involved with this program. I know they would have enjoyed every minute of it!

  3. Judeen E Rikli says:

    GREAT story—-many thanks for sharing your talents—-we appreciate you!!

  4. Lady Of Ag says:

    Oh, Tracy! You shared your experience in Indy perfectly! I am very honored to have made your blog post, too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes – once again – that “little wheat plant” correlation is the best…I love it!

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      ๐Ÿ™‚
      I enjoyed meeting you so much! I just know if we lived much closer together, we’d probably have a lot of fun together!

  5. Tom Stegmeier says:

    Super stuff ,Tracy ,when are you & Conrad going to have sequel about the life of Custom Harvesters?? Yes .you and Dawn look like sisters ,must be a Nebraska thing !!! Did you get a chance to check out some of the sites in Indianapolis ?

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Thanks, Tom! I guess you’ll have to ask Conrad about that one. I would love to see more about the custom harvester out there. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, a Nebraska thing, I’m sure. And, no, I didn’t have an opportunity to do anything in Indianapolis except the convention. That’s usually the way it is when you attend one of those. Thanks for checking in!

  6. kelly Fielder says:

    wicked to see you in action, doing what you love best and recounting your journeys thru the wheat fields….. go Blue Jackets…

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