Koleson McCoy is national president of FFA for 2019-20. McCoy, 19, is a native of Springfield, Ohio, and is a student at Ohio State University. He took over as president at the FFA national convention on Nov. 2.
IFT: Did you grow up on a farm?
MCCOY: I didn’t. I grew up on an acre or two on the edge of Springfield, which is about 45 minutes west of Columbus, Ohio. My father was in the Air Force for 30 years. My mother is a pre-K teacher. I have an older sister and a younger brother.
IFT: How did you get involved in FFA?
MCCOY: I went to a new high school that only opened when I was in eighth grade. It was aimed at agriculture. When I was a freshman I had a person I didn’t even know approach me, and she encouraged me to join FFA. That was very meaningful for me. From there I got involved in public speaking and other programs and developed a passion for FFA. Soon I became a chapter officer and then leader of my local FFA. My senior year of high school I became state secretary, and the next year I was state president.
The high school was important in all of this because they treated me like an adult. I had the chance to have a very student-designed curriculum. I’m very grateful for that.
IFT: Now you are in college. What are you studying and what are your personal goals?
MCCOY: I am studying ag business and ag economics at Ohio State. Eventually, I think I will pursue a master’s degree. But I am not sure what my job goal would be yet. As long as I can work in agriculture and be with people, I’m content. I could see going into management at a large company or perhaps working at USDA. I like to think my FFA experience has given me leadership skills.
IFT: It is no secret that the agricultural economy has been poor for the past five years. How has that impacted FFA?
MCCOY: Everything is tied to agriculture in one way or another. Policy and trade and economics are all connected. These are definitely trying times. I think Ohio lost about 50% of its dairy farms in the past decade. I hope that it is a wake-up call and we need to look for the opportunities.
As far as FFA is concerned, we’re still growing despite the agricultural economy. We have over 700,000 members nationally. We do see more members who do not live on a farm.
IFT: The job of FFA president is a busy one. What is your schedule like?
MCCOY: It is a lot like being state president except more long-distance travel to other states. I think I will be on the road something like 300 days in the next year. Needless to say, I’m not going to be a full-time student during that time.
But the FFA is a great organization. I really think that the FFA is going to be a different experience for each person. FFA is what people need it to be.