National FFA Leaders visit Dow AgroSciences

When I was little, one of my favorite things to do was play in the sandbox in our backyard with my five brothers. I was the artist and the sand was my medium. Each time I went to play, my goal was simple – to build a better sand castle than any of my brothers. Inevitably, someone would stomp on a castle, we would scream and shout and somebody was always left with a cut or bruise. Had we simply decided to combine our efforts, we could have created something incredible. While visiting Dow AgroSciences, I was reminded of just how important collaboration is between organizations and people.

As the 2016-2017 National FFA Officer team, we have a tremendous opportunity to develop a legacy platform in efforts to move the needle on a topic close to our hearts and continue to make an impact beyond our year of service. Driven by the necessity for hearing others’ perspectives, providing everyone with opportunities and experiences and creating a sense of belonging for students–we have decided on “We Are FFA,” a diversity and inclusion platform. The emphasis on innovation through collaboration with individuals who think differently from one another is also seen through Dow AgroSciences as they work to better the lives of their diverse customer base. Just this year, Dow is releasing 12 new product lines in order to provide solutions for a growing world. DowAgroScienceswithNationalFFAOfficers

Our legacy platform, and FFA as a whole, relates a great deal to the vision of Dow AgroSciences. The goals of both groups emphasize the need to continuously innovate through diverse thought processes, so it makes sense that our relationship dates all the way back to 1957. Together, we can make strides to drive the future of agriculture forward. FFA works to grow leaders whose work sets the standard, build the communities in which these students reside and ultimately strengthens agriculture by developing the talent pipeline of students who will be successful in whichever career they choose – such as with companies like Dow AgroSciences. In efforts to support this mission and vision, Dow provides FFA members with a plethora of opportunities. One example is State Presidents' Conference, where, with the support of Dow, our state FFA officers, learn the importance of advocacy and tell our story through legislative visits in Washington D.C. These officers also create delegate committee topics for the 475 student delegates to discuss at the National FFA Convention & Expo in efforts to improve our organization.

Convention is also where Dow Agrosciences enables musically talented FFA members from across the country to participate in the National FFA Band and Chorus – two highly competitive programs that have provided on-stage entertainment and energy for more than 60 years. Additionally, students can walk through the expo halls in search of colleges from across the country, internships and future careers through educational booths created by companies and organizations like Dow.

While we may not have built sand castles together on our visit, the collaboration between FFA and Dow AgroSciences reminds me of those memories with my brothers and the importance of working together - which we learn through experiences as FFA members. Together, we can continue to grow leaders, build communities and strengthen agriculture with individuals who welcome differences and unite in similarities. Together, we can continue to accomplish the incredible.

David Townsend was elected to the 2016-17 National FFA Officer Team as president at the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo. Townsend is a junior at the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, he is involved in Collegiate FFA, University of Delaware Photography Club, University of Delaware Scuba Diving Club, Blue Hen Commuters Program and Delaware FFA Association Hunger Programs. His future plans include earning a degree in plant science and then operating a large-scale produce operation in Delaware.