Most everyone that gathered at the 2024 I Believe Gala on Saturday had a story about how FFA has impacted their life. Current and past FFA members and supporters of the Blue and Gold were there to celebrate FFA and to raise money to help pay for the 2024 annual convention of the Oklahoma FFA coming up in May in downtown Tulsa.
Brent Kisling is the current chairman of the Oklahoma FFA Foundation and a past State FFA President in 1991-92 and he spent the evening moving from one table to the next, greeting old and new friends and thanking them for being a part of the evening. Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays talked with Kisling towards the end of the event held in Omni in downtown Oklahoma City about the Foundation and how it has stepped up to support in a major way. “The Foundation, ten years ago, was very much a small mom and pop organization, raised maybe a couple of hundred thousand dollars to host this biggest convention in the state every year. Now, it’s a million dollar organization- it’s a grown up big boy operation and everybody who wants contact with the best young people in the state want to be involved in this organization.”
And Kisling says it’s because of what FFA does in the life of the young people who go through the program. “A lot of people think of this as a leadership organization- and it is. A lot of people think of it as prepping folks for a career in agriculture and it is. But this truly is the number one best work force development program that the state of Oklahoma has. Think about it- you are teaching young people responsibility- you are teaching life skills, you are teaching them how to do a business plan, how to write a proforma, how to take care of another life as they take care of livestock- it’s truly the number one work force development in the state and we truly appreciate so many legislators that are here tonight to support it and the many who have come to offer financial support.”
One lawmaker in attendance had to work for his supper- and it was clearly a labor of love. The Speaker Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Kyle Hilbert, was a State District Vice President of FFA in 2012-13 and he served as the Emcee for the evening. Hilbert cheered on Caleb Horne, current State FFA President and his officer team as they started the evening with the traditional Opening Ceremonies that are used by local Chapters to start each meeting of the group as well as to kick off state and even the national convention sessions. Hilbert also spoke of how the organization prepared him for life as the evening unfolded and several supporters of FFA were honored by the Foundation.
Hilbert credits FFA for providing leadership and life skills that have helped him succeed in his efforts to serve the citizens of District 29 and the state of Oklahoma at the State Capitol since 2016. Like so many who have worn a Blue and Gold jacket- he gives a lot of credit to his FFA Advisor and Ag Ed teacher, Brian Campbell of Depew. The lawmaker says he uses the skills daily in his role as the number two person in leadership for the State House. Listen to his conversation with Hays by clicking on the link below.
Kisling says that folks are welcome who want to join in and support Oklahoma FFA- click here for the Oklahoma FFA Foundation to learn more about how to do that. Kisling calls it an investment not just in the young people who participate in FFA but also an investment in the future of Oklahoma.