MINNEAPOLIS — Recognizing 91 years of success in school-based agricultural education, the Minnesota FFA will host its annual convention virtually May 19-21.

Organization leaders will use a virtual format to conduct a portion of the activities that normally take place during the State FFA Convention hosted in late April at the University of Minnesota.

“We are proud to provide an experience that can be accessed in real time, along with an opportunity for all students to take part in interactive workshops and panels, while recognizing student involvement and leadership,” said Juleah Tolosky, Minnesota FFA executive director.

The FFA Career and Leadership Development events will not take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the virtual format will include award ceremonies honoring individual success in Supervised Agricultural Experiences within agriscience projects, as well as proficiency awards, State FFA Degrees and State FFA Stars.

The FFA will also celebrate excellence in community service, ag literacy efforts and overall FFA chapter program excellence.

The convention, with "Illuminate" as its theme, will feature keynote speeches from FFA state and national officers, as well as the announcement of the 2020-2021 Minnesota FFA officer team. Convention content will be available on the Minnesota FFA YouTube Channel and will be shared on the organization’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

“Changing the format of the event allows us to recognize students before the end of the school year and to eliminate financial or regulatory barriers that may have prevented students or entire programs from being able to participate,” Tolosky said. “The current pandemic and its associated challenges also provided an opportunity for the current student officers on FFA chapter, region and state levels to take part in executive-level decision-making and practice servant leadership.”

The FFA State Convention begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The Minnesota FFA Convention app, which supplies links to convention events, is available now and can be downloaded at https://crowd.cc/mnffa2020 or https://crowd.cc/s/3M8i0. Additional details and the convention schedule can also be found at mnffa.org.