President Bob Barton’s State of the FFA Alumni

Fellow FFA Alumni,

As President I felt it necessary to provide you an update on the activities at a national level. As most of you know November 14, 2011 Frank Saldana moved within the organization to a Local Program Support (LPS) position covering the South East. Since then Tony Small, Partner Services Division Director has been the interim Director. I have been in steady contact with Tony and the National FFA Alumni staff to ensure the voice of the FFA Alumni membership is present during the audit of current association programs. Many of you ask, what is the timeline to hire a new Executive Director? Believe me I can’t wait! However, the end of November your executive committee asked FFA to hold off on the solicitation to allow further review of the job description. Today, I am pleased to announce, that January 25th we began interviews.

During the last 3 months it has become apparent that several of our current programs have not been assessed or updated since 1971. I am not saying that it is all bad; however to run like a well-oiled machine you must have regular tune-ups, it gave us the opportunity to revisit several things and ask questions. For instance with our two main goals.
1. To have an active fully engaged FFA Alumni affiliate associated with every FFA chapter, and
2. To be the leaders in advocacy for agricultural education.
Is our Vision Statement still current? Also, looking at operation budgets and cost of doing business, should we look at rebates and newsletter expense? Are our Awards relevant? Should National FFA Alumni be providing Scholarships? Or is it our role to have in place programs and materials to help each of you provide for and support your Local and State programs? And how do we answer the question: “Why do I pay National Dues?” I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts on these!

Recently, your staff and council spent three long days working on critical items. We had the opportunity to learn and grow through presentations, brainstorming sessions, updates and reports; we created committees with attainable goals, objectives and timelines; had productive conversations and left exhausted! I feel great pride in the work the council and staff did and believe each FFA Alumni member has a voice and is being represented by people at the table. After our meeting I left feeling confident we will make great strides toward achieving our long range goals, please join me in thanking your National FFA Alumni Council for their service.

Also, we were given an opportunity to have a better understanding of our Agricultural Career Network (AgCN) FFA Alumni portals, our new membership/roster system. We are excited about the potential these will bring but unfortunately they will be delayed until summer 2012. I know you are anxious to move to an electronic system but I’m so nostalgic for our excel rosters that we can’t let them go this year. So if you would join me one last time in filling out and sending in those wonderful excel rosters we can celebrate both their retirement and mine at National FFA Alumni convention this October in Indianapolis, Indiana.

I hope to see all of you in Bozeman Montana for our FFA Alumni Development Conference, July 11-14, 2012. Staff is working on action packed workshops and plenty of sightseeing trips, including a day trip to Yellow Stone National Park. My hope is to have several things in place to talk about, gaining thoughts and insight from each and every one of you in attendance.

In closing, I would like to thank each of you for what you do as a volunteer for this wonderful organization daily! If you are raising money for your local chapter, providing assistance to your local instructor, mentoring students, or fighting to save a program within your school district, your passion and dedication to Agricultural Education and FFA is apparent. I strive every day to strengthen every FFA Alumni affiliate in every community along with having programs in place allowing community members, businesses, administrators and anyone with a voice to understand the importance of our great organization… so we can be a united force for Agricultural Education and FFA!

Bob Barton
National FFA Alumni President


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