President Donald Trump will address members of the National FFA Organization at the group’s annual convention on Saturday, sources tell Agri-Pulse.
Trump will speak at the convention’s closing session Saturday afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is also expected to be in attendance.
Trump will be the first president to appear at the convention since President George Herbert Walker Bush in 1991. Other recent dignitaries include President Jimmy Carter who appeared in person at the convention and President Ronald Reagan and first lady Michelle Obama - both appeared at the convention via pre-recorded messages.
Prior to Carter, Gerald Ford was the first active president to appear at a National FFA Convention in 1974. President Harry Truman spoke to FFA members in 1957 when he was no longer president, and Richard Nixon spoke at the convention in 1968 as a presidential candidate. Then-Indiana Governor Mike Pence also spoke briefly at the 2016 convention while he was also a candidate for vice president.
While many previous administrations have enjoyed a warm relationship with FFA, the Trump administration has been especially welcoming to the organization. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue frequently interacts with FFA members during his trips throughout the country as well as in Washington. FFA members have also visited the White House several times since Trump’s inauguration, including a visit by a national FFA officer during a Farmers Roundtable at the White House during Perdue’s first day on the job (pictured above).
In January, Trump spoke at the convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation, where he called FFA members “great young people” who are “the future of our country.”
“Their devotion to our nation inspires us all,” Trump said.
Trump has been active on the campaign trail this year, making stops in a number of states with contentious races on the ballot. Indiana is one such state, where incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly is in a tight Senate race, but FFA’s apolitical nature could eliminate many of Trump’s campaign centered applause lines that have been mentioned in several recent speeches.
The organization expects attendance at this year’s convention – the 91st annual event – to top 65,000 FFA members and guests.
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