Poeschle: The FFA Show Must go On(line)

The National FFA Organization announced Friday the 2020 National FFA Convention and Expo will be held virtually. The decision to hold a virtual event in place of in-person was recommended by National FFA staff and affirmed by the board of directors, says National FFA Organization and Foundation CEO Mark Peoschl.

“I’m confident that no one will be surprised, but we’re all disappointed that we’ve made the decision not to have an in-person National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis in October. Instead, we will move to a virtual experience for our students and our other guest. And we think based on the information we’ve gathered about travel restrictions from schools, sponsors, universities, as well as and primarily because of our view that we need to protect the health and safety of our guest, we think this is a responsible decision.”

Because of travel restrictions, Peoschl says it’s a matter of safety and fairness.

“That is absolutely true, and we think that by executing a virtual experience for our students that we’re going to learn a lot and potentially provide new ways to of reaching more students when we are able to return to an in-person experience in 2021.”

Planning and moving the event to a virtual platform is underway and more details will be released late this summer.

“We are, of course, leaning on our own group of in-house professionals to help us map out what that virtual experience will look like and needs to look like. We will engage external professionals as well to make sure that we can pull this off in a very professional way and in a way that’s very meaningful for students. And, as we map out what the specifics of the virtual experience will look like, we intend to make an announcement on August 12 that will give a lot more details about the convention itself and how we’re going to execute this.”

Peoschl says the virtual experience will include many of the same features students expect from an in-person event.

“We are going to of course continue to have general sessions, keynotes and retiring addresses, awards will be presented. But we are also working on what we think will be a very unique virtual experience for our FFA Blue Room. We intend to have a way to present our expo in a virtual fashion. We are also investigating how we can provide a concert experience for students. So, many of the same types of things that students would expect to see when they come to Indianapolis, but just having to do it on a virtual platform.”

Peoschl says the decision is the right move to protect event attendees.

“I know that these decisions are disappointing to young people who look forward to this kind of event every year. We just feel that in order for us to be responsible for the health and safety for our guest, we have to move in this direction, but we look forward to a 2021 event that will be very, very special. And, I will also say, that in the process of making this decision in 2020, we’ve also agreed to extend our stay in Indianapolis with our National FFA Expo and Convention for two more years. So, that means Indianapolis will be the host of our event through 2033.”

The convention will occur virtually during the week of October 28, as previously planned. Learn more at FFA.org.