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Del.’s Townsend elected National FFA President
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 1, 2016) — David Townsend of Middletown, Del., and an agricultural and natural resources and plant science student at the University of Delaware, was elected National FFA president at the organization’s convention last month.
This is the first time Delaware has had a national FFA president.
Townsend is a 2014 graduate of Middletown High School and was active in its FFA chapter and agriscience program, led by teachers Jeff Billings and Cheryl Vest.
In March 2014, Townsend was elected as the 2014-15 Delaware FFA State Treasurer.
“I’m ecstatic,” he said in a radio interview shortly after his selection was announced. “I’m super excited to give up my time to serve an organization that has given so much to me and so many other members of the FFA.”
Townsend said he joined FFA “by accident” filling a spot in his schedule with an agriculture class.
“I had a gap in my schedule second semester freshman year and I had the opportunity to take an animal science class. That’s kind of where it all started for me,” he said. From there, he said he added more experiences to his FFA career including a produce garden that started as something to use in family dinners but soon took off.
“It ended up growing and transforming into something bigger,” he said. “I actually got to work with a local restaurant where the chefs stress the importance of utilizing fresh and local produce in their meals and the different things that they prepare. So I was able to learn about the farm to table process.”
Townsend said he was inspired to run for national FFA office because he noticed too many people let their stories go unheard and he wanted to encourage more people to share what they know with others.
“In my experience it is those people that often have the most interesting and important stories to share,” he said. “Every single person that we meet knows something that we don’t. And it’s our responsibility to use our ability to listen and truly hear them to gain something new from each and every person we meet in our everyday life.”
Townsend said his ability for developing personal relationship with others is a product of his parents and being part of a large family and also credited Billings and Vest as inspiration, calling them “almost a second set of parents.”
Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, six students are elected by delegates to represent the organization as National FFA officers.
Delegates elect a president, secretary and vice presidents representing the central, southern, eastern and western regions of the country.
National officers commit to a year of service to the National FFA Organization. Each travels more than 100,000 national and international miles to interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, the general public and more.
The team will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.
While Townsend is the first Delaware FFA member to serve as the organization’s national president, Delaware students S. Pennewill Isaacs served as national FFA Secretary, 1941-42, John W. Webb, Jr. was selected Eastern Region Vice President in 1947 and, in 1969, Charles Postles was elected as Eastern Region Vice President.