As President of the National FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America), Kolesen McCoy has been traveling the country and the globe meeting with business and industry leaders and thousands of FFA members and teachers. During a short break from his whirlwind schedule, (he’s expected to log over 100,000 national and international miles during his one-year tenure) and right before the statewide shutdown due to CO-VID 19, McCoy stopped by AEDE to share some details of his adventures and share how having the opportunity to examine agriculture from a multitude of lenses has been life changing.
In December, he began intense logistical training on managing all the upcoming travel and attended workshops where he developed and wrote his keynotes and presentations.
“I learned to paint a picture when presenting,” says McCoy. “Stories are the currency of human connection and I’m meeting people from all walks of life, all over the world.”
His first international trip was in January when he and fellow officers traveled to Japan to interact with FFA’s sister organization – Future Farmers of Japan (FFJ). They spent time with their peers immersed in the culture and toured agricultural facilities. McCoy was struck by how intentional Japanese producers have to be with their land as the entire country is the similar in size to the state of Montana. Producers rely on green house production, vertical farming and are very progressive in their thinking.
“They use less heavy machinery and rely on physical labor in the field,” says McCoy.
McCoy also visited the U.S. Virgin Islands where vocational training in agricultural is being developed. In an effort to connect the over 700,000 members nationwide, McCoy and his team have made strides to capitalize the opportunity of virtual engagement. Including live-streamed keynotes and workshops to state conventions and local chapters across the country.
He continues to remotely engage FFA Board of Directors, multiple agricultural companies and farmers and consumers on the front lines and has a deeper understanding of agriculture as a global industry.
Through all of this, McCoy still has his sights on returning to campus for Spring semester 2021 where he will continue his agribusiness and applied economics course of study.
“AEDE and the college have been my greatest advocates and supporters,” says McCoy.