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At least seven state FFA conventions canceled due to coronavirus prevention efforts

National FFA Organization says how states will make national convention decisions remains up in the air.

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INDIANAPOLIS โ€” State FFA conventions, held in the spring or early summer, are a culmination of what FFA members worked for throughout the year and an opportunity to put their skills up against other members across their states. But this year, fears over coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, are disrupting state conventions in some places.

As of Friday, March 13, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Massachusetts, Montana , Oregon and Utah had postponed, canceled or suspended their state conventions, according to the National FFA Organization.

โ€œAs you can imagine, the situation is fluid, so we are not sure what it will look like in terms of states determining who will be at national convention,โ€ said Kristy Meyer, communications manager for National FFA.

The Minnesota FFA Association on Friday afternoon announced its convention will be postponed, possibly to June. It had been scheduled for April 19-21.

Meyer said canceling conventions is a state-by-state decision, not dictated by the national office.

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โ€œWe continue to encourage all state and local FFA organizations to focus on proactive measures regarding personal and community health. They should regularly monitor official information from the CDC and their respective state departments of health for appropriate next steps,โ€ a preparedness statement from National FFA said.

National FFA Organization also is making some short-term changes. Staff and national officers will not be traveling unless approved for necessary instances through April 10, and most staff will begin working remotely for at least two weeks starting March 16. The National FFA Center will be closed to visitors from March 16 until at least April 10. The National FFA Alumni & Supporters Regional Development Conference in Connecticut has been moved from March 27-28 to Aug. 14-15. National FFA also has amended its cancellation policy for its Washington Leadership Conference, held in June and July, to allow for full refunds minus deposits through May 3.

โ€œOur current plans remain in place for all National FFA Organization events scheduled beyond April 10, though they remain subject to change. Operations of the National FFA Center and all National FFA Organization staff in Indianapolis remain underway. In the event circumstances change, we will make decisions and communicate accordingly,โ€ the preparedness statement said.

Jenny Schlecht is the director of ag content for Agweek and serves as editor of Agweek, Sugarbeet Grower and BeanGrower. She lives on a farm and ranch near Medina, North Dakota, with her husband and two daughters. You can reach her at jschlecht@agweek.com or 701-595-0425.
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