State FFA comes to Garrett County

State FFA comes to Garrett County at Deep Creek Lake, MD

The Oakland FFA Chapter was one of 50 chapters across the state that participated in last week’s Maryland FFA state convention. Pictured, left to right, are Oakland FFA members Ranae Harvey, Haley Klotz, Lexi Nice, and Charlie McCrobie.

The 96th Maryland Future Farmers of America (FFA) State Convention took place for the first time in Garrett County last week at Garrett College’s McHenry Campus and The Wisp Resort McHenry Lodge.

“We appreciate the hospitality that everyone has shown to us,” said Terri Shank, Maryland FFA’s executive director. “It’s been quite a partnership with [the Garrett County] Farm Bureau, the College and the Wisp to make this happen. It’s been a very positive experience.”

This annual event – which featured nearly 400 students and almost 80 volunteers – kicked off Sunday, June 23rd and continued through Wednesday, June 26th. It brought together FFA members, advisors, and supporters from across the state to celebrate agricultural achievements and promote leadership in the industry.

The event also provided a platform for young agricultural leaders to showcase their skills, network with industry professionals, and gain valuable experience in public speaking and teamwork.

“We’re hoping that they made new friends and learned there are a lot of students across Maryland who share common interests and goals,” Shank said of the desired outcomes from the convention. “It also provided opportunities to demonstrate their leadership and career skills in front of judges who are business and industry people and who made quite an impression on our students.”

The convention included voting delegates from each of the 50 FFA chapters across the state. First-place individuals and teams from the state convention will represent Maryland at the national convention in Indianapolis this fall.

“Last year’s national convention brought together 75,000 high school ag students from across the U.S.,” noted Shank.

Both the Wisp Resort and Garrett College were pleased to play host to the convention.

“Garrett College was proud to co-host the 2024 Maryland FFA Convention this past week, alongside the Wisp Resort,” said Chantel Lowdermilk, the College’s events coordinator. “While touring our County’s beautiful farms, students from across the state were also able to explore the College campus while completing various skills workshops, classes, and presentations.

“Garrett College’s campus offers numerous meeting and event spaces outside of the standard classroom, allowing us to host events such as the Maryland FFA Convention,” added Lowdermilk. “We support the agricultural community and look forward to collaborating in the future.”

“Wisp Resort is fortunate to have a mutually beneficial working relationship with Garrett College to offer a non-traditional convention center for large groups such as the Maryland Future Farmers of America,” said Lisa Ratliff, director of sales at Wisp Resort. “Wisp offered over 40,000 square feet of meeting space and 169 hotel rooms to support the Maryland FFA’s needs to execute a successful convention. Hosting this group in Garrett County aligns with our county’s rich agricultural environment.”