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Mexico, Missouri native Grant Norfleet celebrates with FFA members after accepting his new role as the national secretary of FFA (photo courtesy of the MU News Bureau)

More than 5,000 Missouri FFA members meeting in Columbia; Missouri’s governor to keynote tomorrow

Missouri Governor Mike Parson prepares to drive a John Deere tractor to the Statehouse in Jefferson City on February 23, 2022 (file photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

Missouri’s governor will deliver the keynote address at the 96th annual state FFA Convention in Columbia, which is underway at the Hearnes Center and several other locations.

More than 5,000 high school students from across Missouri have traveled to Columbia, and you’ll see them wearing their blue FFA jackets. Mizzou senior Grant Norfleet of mid-Missouri’s Mexico is at the convention: Mr. Norfleet is the national secretary of the National FFA Organization. He describes his experience with FFA as humbling, noting he participated in county fairs growing up.

Governor Mike Parson’s keynote address is scheduled for Friday afternoon at Hearnes. This year’s convention theme is “Open the Door.”

There have been many famous political leaders in both parties who’ve been FFA members over the years, including a young Jerry Litton from northwest Missouri’s Chillicothe. Mr. Litton enrolled at Mizzou in 1956 and served as national secretary for the FFA. Litton graduated from Mizzou in 1961 with a degree in agricultural journalism, while serving as president of the Missouri FFA. Mr. Litton was elected to Congress representing northwest Missouri in 1972 and was re-elected in 1974 with 79 percent of the vote. He died in an August 1976 plane crash in Chillicothe, after winning the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. He defeated former Governor Warren Hearnes and then U.S. Rep. James Symington (D) that night in the primary. Jerry Litton was 39 years old.

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