Josiah Cruikshank, an Oregon State University student and Bend native, has been elected western region vice president of the National Future Farmers of America.
Cruikshank got his start with FFA as a freshman at Mountain View High School in Bend, raising and showing hogs in leadership competitions.
“I’m a pretty competitive person, so I really appreciated the career development events,” he said. “I really enjoy public speaking and traveling around to conferences and workshops.”
With chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, FFA is one of the larger student-run organizations in the country, founded by students for students. The program provides hands-on agriculture education to students, preparing the next generation of leaders for careers in farming, animal science, biology, chemistry and more.
Cruikshank studies business administration and mechanical engineering at OSU in Corvallis, but holding office on the National FFA board requires that he defer school for a year. He said he would love to become more involved in FFA post-graduation, but it would require more agriculture courses than he is currently taking.
During his time in office, Cruikshank will lead member events, advocate with policy makers to advance the interests of FFA and agricultural education, attend conventions and competitions and give speeches.
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He said he is looking forward to FFA events being held back in person with a larger number of attendees similar to how they were pre-pandemic.
“COVID hit, and now it’s been two years since we’ve had that type of in-person experience where we weren’t hindered by social distancing or not getting to see someone’s whole face,” Cruikshank said.
As western region vice president, Cruikshank will represent nearly 735,000 FFA members nationwide. He served as his high school FFA vice president in 2018-2019, and was elected to serve as Oregon FFA state president in 2019-2020.
His favorite FFA memory is when his team wanted to make a dramatic entrance to a convention that was set to happen right when COVID-19 hit the U.S. The convention didn’t happen, but his team made a video of them skydiving out of a plane in their FFA uniforms right to the gates of the competition.
These are the experiences Cruikshank is most looking forward to getting back to now that there are fewer restrictions on events.
“FFA is back, we’re better than ever,” he said. “I’m excited to continue that momentum.”
Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_.