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Women sweep FFA elections

June 21, 2018 GMT

EDITOR’S NOTE: Article by Greg Bishop, of Illinois News Network, and Robert Themer, of the Daily Journal.

For the first time in the 90-year history of the Illinois FFA organization, young women have been elected to all posts on the state governing body.

Sophia Hortin, of Fisher, was elected the first female president of the organization known as Future Farmers of America until 1998, when the title was changed to National FFA Organization. The first female national officer was elected in 1976; its first female national president in 1982.

Hortin replaces FFA president Joseph Brattier, of Waterloo.

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Hortin told the conventioneers: “I can’t wait to be with all of you guys this year, make a difference for agriculture, for FFA and for everyone in our lives.”

The newly elected officers will defer the next year of college to travel the state and work with local FFA chapters.

The election of young women to all Illinois FFA officers should be no surprise to anyone following FFA and agriculture education. More than 45 percent of the more than 683,000 members are females, as are about half of officers in 8,568 chapters in 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

New Illinois FFA secretary Miriam Hoffman, of Earlville, thanked her family.

“I know my brother is at home cultivating corn right now,” she said. “And I want to thank them all for milking my cows for this next year.”

Treasurer Taylor Hartke, of Teutopolis, said she’s ready for the year ahead.

“I look forward to working with each and every one of you this year and getting to know you and just making it all about the experience,” Hartke said.

The other new major state officers are vice president Eliza Petry, of Rochelle, and reporter Shaylee Clinton, of Ina.

Women also are common among agriculture education teachers and FFA advisers. This year, women are agriculture education teachers in eight of the 14 schools in the Daily Journal circulation area. Next year, it will be 10 of 16, with ag education being added at Donovan High School and the Grundy Area Career Center, both of which have hired women who are graduating this year.

One of the area women teachers — Diana Loschen, 30-year ag education teacher at Tri-Point High School in Cullom — gave notice to the school board there on Monday that she intends to retire in three years.