SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – The Sullivan FFA chapter is receiving recognition as being in the top 5% of chapters in the nation for the 4th year in a row.

Being in the top 5% makes them a “three-star chapter” and they will honored for this next month at a conference in Indianapolis.

“The FFA is really growing across the country and really across our state. Our number of agriculture teachers and FFA chapters has really increased over the last five years. Nationally this past year membership went up, net membership went up by over 100,000 students,” Kevin Cross, chapter advisor, said.

Cross said one of the reasons he believes the chapter has done so well is because they were able to adapt during the pandemic and have been able to give students life lessons and experience that goes beyond just agriculture.

“Not only through our leadership activities here at Sullivan FFA but also through our infused classroom activities as well. We try to really focus on that. We have a plant and soil science unit where students are growing crops and learning that process,” Cross said.

In order to hold this title, Cross says they have to have activities that meet different quality standards under three different domains.

The domains are building communities, growing leaders and strengthening agriculture.

He said although being in the top 5% is an honor, it’s really about creating a better world, which starts with the students today.

“I think it’s going to prep us for the future, that’s why FFA is so important. We’re facing in the world a crisis with over 9 billion people, maybe close to 10 billion going to be living with us by 2050. We have to feed all those people and we’ve also got to conserve natural resources and make sure we have enough water to feed those people,” Cross said.

Sarah Francis is a junior at Sullivan High School and is going into her 4th year being a part of FFA.

She has held down many roles and now serves as the Chapter Reporter and the District 7 Vice President.

Francis said despite what people may think, you don’t have to want a career in farming or agriculture to benefit from FFA.

“I don’t live on a farm, I’m not directly linked to agriculture, and I’ve never had that direct focus of going into agriculture but I was really drawn to FFA just because of the skills and the life long friends you make from this organization and I know they will help me immensely in the future,” Francis said.

Francis said getting to help the chapter hold the title of top 5% in the nation has been an honor that she’ll carry for years to come.

“Our chapter has just grown to amazing heights over these past four years and being in a leadership role and being able to see how my actions and the actions of my fellow officers have been able to impact this and rise us to new heights has just been so amazing,” Francis said.

The National FFA Convention and Expo is in Indianapolis on October 26-29, where they will be honored for being in the top 5% of chapters in the nation.