FFA Convention News

National FFA Organization Names Georgia Resident 2022 Star in Agribusiness

INDIANAPOLIS – Many FFA members join the organization knowing what to expect because their family is involved in agriculture, but Kaitlyn Hart said she was almost clueless when she joined Colquitt County FFA in rural Georgia.“I joined FFA as a 10th grader for the very first time,” Hart said. “I had zero knowledge about flowers, about horticulture, or really about the agriculture industry, until I got involved in my FFA program.”Kaitlyn said she was heavily influenced by her agriculture teacher Adrienne Smith, so she quickly became interested in horticulture and floral design. While she was still in high school, Kaitlyn took a risk and started a business called Kait’s Blossoms.“I wanted to make my supervised agricultural experience (SAE) really unique,” Hart said. “Now, six years later, I’m still owning and operating Kait’s Blossoms.”Kaitlyn’s business started small — arranging flowers for her family and friends at birthday parties. She slowly expanded her clientele and services over time, and now Kait’s Blossoms makes floral arrangements for weddings and other big events. Kaitlyn said she only started doing weddings at the end of 2021, but she’s already worked on a dozen of them.“I could never have a business if it were not for … people who wanted to trust me to be a part of someone’s special day,” Hart said.Kait’s Blossoms moves with its owner, however. Kaitlyn is currently studying hospitality and food industry management at the University of Georgia, so she’s had the opportunity to serve two different communities. Kaitlyn said her biggest accomplishment so far is decorating the Georgia governor’s mansion for Christmas, but she has no plans to stop there.“I’ve absolutely loved the past six years, and being able to … serve people,” Hart said. “I want to pursue Kait’s Blossoms and hopefully open up a brick and mortar store one day.”Kaitlyn doesn’t run her business alone, though. She said her parents have been an essential part of her team since day one.“They have gone with me after every wedding to clean up at midnight, and they’ve never once complained,” Hart said.For FFA members looking to start their own SAE, Kaitlyn shared advice that harkens back to her decision to join FFA as a 10th grader: it’s never too late.“Most people do start when they’re in middle school,” Hart said, “[but] it’s never too late to … join FFA or start a business.” About the American Star Awards
Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, four FFA members are honored with American Star Awards for outstanding accomplishments in FFA and agricultural education.The American Star Awards, including American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are presented to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through completion of an SAE. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows students to learn by doing, by either owning or operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business, or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting results.Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.Sixteen American Star Award finalists from throughout the U.S. were nominated by a panel of judges who then interviewed the finalists this fall. Four were named winners during the 95th National FFA Convention & Expo this year, which was held in Indianapolis. Winners received cash awards. Case IH, Elanco Animal Health, PepsiCo and Syngenta sponsor the awards.General convention sessions will be aired live on RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel. FFA members and supporters can tune in and watch gavel-to-gavel coverage of the event. To learn more, visit Convention.FFA.org. The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 850,000 student members as part of 8,995 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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