FFA relocates convention to Rapid City


Photo from South Dakota FFA Foundation

Andrew Rasmussen, Opinion Editor (He/Him)

South Dakota FFA is relocating its 93rd state convention from South Dakota State University to Rapid City. This is the first time the convention will not be held at SDSU since 1982.

The convention was moved to ensure the convention could be held in person according to Hunter Eide, SD FFA Secretary and SDSU freshman.

“Personally, I am excited to allow our students to be recognized,” Eide said.

Typical attendance for the convention is around 2,100 students, but with attendance restrictions (only students receiving an award or competing), 1,300-1,500 students are expected to attend, according to Eide.

“A number of our faculty and our students are involved quite heavily with the FFA,” John Killefer, South Dakota Corn endowed dean of the college of agriculture, food and environmental sciences, said. “As you are aware, it is on the other side of the state, so there are some logistical challenges to participate live with the event.”

SDSU has been home to the convention because of the facilities, faculty and collegiate FFA students that aid in making the event a success, according to Killefer.

“It’s an opportunity to come to campus, and they really see this as their agricultural university,” Killefer said.

Relocating the convention also has some impact on the Brookings community.

In 2020, the projected economic impact of the FFA convention was $638,000 before the event was moved to a virtual format, according to Laura Schoen Carbonneau, executive director of Visit Brookings.

“When you look at something the size of the FFA convention, it’s an obvious event, you know when it’s happening,” Leah Brink, Brookings city councilor said. “A lot of the hospitality, retail and lodging will have a dip from that, and they have been hit all year long with a lot of other things, so it means more bad news for those business owners.”

While Brink is optimistic with positive news surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations, she recognizes businesses are still being affected.

“Just knowing that it’s one drop in the bucket, there have been a lot of things that haven’t happened, and all of these things add up together to be troubling,” Brink said.