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One day at a time: Indiana FFA finding ways to serve members


INDIANAPOLIS — Uncertain times are facing the state, as individuals are encouraged to practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible to try and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

One group that is trying to make the most of a tough situation is the Indiana FFA Association, which is busy coming up with contingency plans to make sure Hoosier FFA members can still take part in contests and conventions, even if it’s not in the traditional way.

“Obviously, we are taking things day by day and learning about the different recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, state officials and others,” said Rob Hays, director of the Indiana FFA Association.

Hays said the ultimate goal of the Indiana FFA always will be to put forward the best possible program for student members.

“We will continue to do that instead of just blanket canceling, even if it’s not in the traditional way,” Hays said.

Hays said that due to school closings and restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather in one place, many district leadership contests had to be postponed until restrictions are lifted.

“We don’t know when that will happen, but we have some online applications that are still operating like normal, including state FFA officer application forms,” Hays said.

Hays said other events in the meantime will be done virtually, including proficiency grading.

Hays said the proficiency applications will be sent to the judges to grade on their own time, and once graded, they will join on a video call as a team with the other judges and answer any questions one another may have about any applications or the process.

Hays noted this is also the time of year when Star interviews usually take place, but instead of face-to-face, they are being done through video conferencing.

Despite all the unknowns, Hays said FFA as of now is continuing forward with planning the 2020 Indiana FFA State Convention as traditionally as possible.

“It will be as normal as possible at Purdue University,” Hays said, adding that any possible modifications to events are unknown at this time.

However, to make sure FFA members still can experience the state convention one way or another, Hays said the organization also is coming up with a contingency plan for the state convention.

To stay up to date on what Indiana FFA events have been canceled, postponed or held in a different way, the organization has added a special COVID-19 Update section to its website, www.inffa.org.

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