College Hosts 86th Annual New York State FFA Convention

April 19, 2011

SUNY Cobleskill hosts the 86th annual New York State FFA Convention, in partnership with the Walton and Sidney FFA chapters, May 5 – 7. The College welcomes approximately 1,000 students from grades 6-12 representing 80 state chapters during the three-day convention.


Dr. Temple Grandin, acclaimed livestock handling facilities designer, delivers the convention’s keynote address on Thursday, May 5 at 7:15 p.m. Named last year as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, Grandin is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She has designed facilities located in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. Half the cattle in the United States and Canada are handled in equipment she has designed.


In addition, Grandin, who has written extensively on the topics of autism and the humane treatment of animals, will sign copies of her various books from 4:30 – 6 p.m. outside SUNY Cobleskill’s bookstore. In the event of inclement weather, the book signing will take place in Prentice Hall.


The 2011 New York State FFA convention, with the theme “The Power of One,” will feature speakers, education-based competitions and opportunities for local students to achieve state-level recognition and achievements.


Highlights include students participating in contests such as ag mechanics, food science, extemporaneous speaking, floriculture and aquaculture. Students will get to interact with future employers at the Career Show as well as tour regional attractions and learn more about SUNY Cobleskill. This year the College features farm-to-table meals using campus raised and processed meat.


Local students have been competing in leadership development events since February and will be recognized during the convention. In addition to speaking and presentation competitions, FFA members will be able to participate in course-related career development events, in which high school students participate in simulations of real-world career situations. Winning teams and individuals will compete nationally in October.


As part of its charter centennial year, SUNY Cobleskill is hosting a special public event featuring Grandin at Albany’s Palace Theatre on Wednesday, May 4, at 7 p.m. Her convention keynote address the following day is closed to FFA participants and select College individuals.


Diagnosed as a high-functioning autistic child, Grandin is the author of The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s, as well as a consultant to the livestock industry in animal behavior. She has appeared on television shows such as “20/20,” “48 Hours,” “CNN Larry King Live,” “PrimeTime Live,” and the “Today Show,” and has also been featured in People, the New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and Discover. The HBO film Temple Grandin was a seven-time winner, including as best Made-For-Television Movie, at the 62nd Emmy Awards this past August.


Grandin is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute; the Richard L. Knowlton Award from Meat Marketing and Technology magazine; and the Industry Achievement Award from the American Meat Institute. She was recognized by The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and has received honorary doctorates from McGill University, the University of Illinois, and Duke University.


A past member of Autism Society of America’s board of directors, Grandin lectures to parents and teachers throughout the United States on her experiences with autism.


Grandin earned her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College, received an M.S. in animal science at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes, and was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1989.


FFA is a dynamic youth organization that is a part of agricultural education programs at middle and high schools. Student members are engaged in a wide range of curriculum and FFA activities, leading to more than 300 career opportunities in agriculture. FFA stands for Future Farmers of America; however, in 1998 the official name of the organization was changed to The National FFA Organization to reflect the growing diversity of agriculture.