Tarleton hosts 28 members from around the country and Puerto Rico

National FFA officer candidate training


Chances are if you were on campus Sept. 22 through the 24, you were bound to witness a sea of blue corduroy jackets. Tarleton hosted the National FFA Officer Preparation Academy under the direction of Dr. David Frazier with the help of faculty, staff, and students from the Agriculture Education and Communication department. 

The training program mimics the exact process National FFA officer candidates will experience at election. InterBank helps make this possible through sponsorship for travel and housing for candidates to be present at Tarleton, in which 28 of the 35 candidates from around the country and Puerto Rico attended. 

National FFA officer candidates will travel to Indianapolis, Indiana during the last week of October to compete in a series of rounds to be elected as a National FFA officer at the 95th National FFA Convention. Once elected, six individuals will devote one year of service to traveling to various schools around the nation to speak with FFA students and advisors. They will host workshops that bring leadership and knowledge to FFA members, deliver motivational speeches, and serve as a representative at the local, state, and national level. The National FFA Officer Preparation Academy has been ongoing at Tarleton for 11 years. 

Frazier once formally taught at Tennessee Tech University where he first started training national officers, since then, it has traveled with him to Tarleton and has become a steady growing program. He now serves as an associate professor for Agricultural Education and Consumer Sciences. Frazier is passionate about the growth and success of these candidates. 

“The candidates themselves have never been through a real process that mimics the national’s, so there was a lot of stress and anxiety for them…why not put together a deal that takes you through it. It gives them a platform to mess things up…and say ‘Now I know what I need to do to prepare,’” Frazier said.

Students from the Agriculture Education and Communication department volunteer to listen and provide feedback to candidates. While the program may be beneficial for candidates, it gives opportunities for students to benefit from as well.

“They get to see what it’s like to truly see good interviewing.They make connections around the country with different people that hopefully later on in life will truly benefit them. With our ag-ed students they are going to be training students to go through a similar process, so it gives them an idea what a good one is supposed to look like,” Frazier said.

Nebraska candidate Ellie Wanek was one of the 28 that attended the training. Wanek expressed her thoughts on the history of Tarleton and the heritage of Texas. 

“All the traditions I’ve been told about Tarleton are so fun. I was warned right away not to walk on the grass. We were told all about how the purple poo passed along a pig at graduation. I always tell people, if I didn’t love Nebraska as much as I do, I would move here [Texas] in a heartbeat,” Wanek said. 

Tarleton is the only university in the country that offers a training program relevant to preparing National FFA officer candidates for election.