Army greets visitors at National Future Farmers of America convention
A visitor to the Army interactive zone tries the punching bag. (Photo Credit: Jerry Merideth, U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

INDIANAPOLIS — Through conventions and events, the U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade generates interest. It broadens the perspective of service to the Nation to thousands each year supporting the Army recruiting mission.

Those efforts were showcased recently as Soldiers joined more than 71,000 students, educators, and parents at the 2023 National Future Farmers of America Convention, Nov. 1-4, in Indianapolis, Indiana. This event was a combined effort from people across the entire Army to engage visitors.

Army greets visitors at National Future Farmers of America convention
Students log in at the Army interactive zone. (Photo Credit: Jerry Merideth, U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

With displays including everything from the Army bass boat and Army marksmanship gold medalists to a military working dog demonstration, the goal was to engage while informing those attending the event.

National Future Farmers of America (NFFA) is more than planting crops and driving monstrous farm equipment. According to the organization's website, it’s about leadership and making a difference in your community. That fits well with the revived Army “Be All You Can Be slogan,” according to the Army officer in charge of the event, Capt. Frank Mitchell.

Army greets visitors at National Future Farmers of America convention
NFFA members handle weapons at the Army Marksmanship Unit exhibit at the convention. (Photo Credit: Jerry Merideth, U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

“I’m here with the Marketing and Engagement Brigade to ensure this is the best experience possible for those attending,” Mitchell said. “The NFFA is one of our largest events each year. Our work here directly contributes to generating awareness of what it means to be a Soldier and Be All You Can Be.”

Staff Sgt. Dan McGaffity manned a tabletop display. The flow of NFFA members was constant through the Army interactive area.

“This is my first time at NFFA,” McGaffity said. “It’s a great opportunity. I grew up on the farm. We have a lot of high school students that might be thinking of a career in the Army. I’ve really been able to talk with them so far. I’m meeting a lot of good students.”

It’s noon at the Army Interactive Zone where students spend their lunch hour visiting exhibits and picking up swag. There are a lot of Army tote bags among the crowd.

“My uncle just retired from the Army. He was over in Japan for a while,” NFFA member Caden Crain said.

Crain said he liked the Army being at the event. He was paired with Hunter Burd, also a NFFA member. Both are from Southern Illinois. They came with their school and were impressed with the floor of exhibits.

“We’re hanging out and trying to learn new things,” said Crain.

Army greets visitors at National Future Farmers of America convention
Olympian Sgt. 1st Class Phillip Jungman (white suit) poses with students at the NFFA convention. (Photo Credit: Jerry Merideth, U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

Sergeant 1st Class Phillip Jungman of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) helped operate a weapons display. Nearby, a computer-based firing range used by the AMU drew visitors. Jungman, who competed at the Olympics Tokyo, wore his Olympic garb, and talked about competing for the Nation on the world stage.

“This is a great opportunity to tell people interested in the Army and what Soldiers do,” Jungman said. “I was a member of the NFFA while in high school. So, we can sort of speak the same language.”

Army greets visitors at National Future Farmers of America convention
The Army staff at the National Future Farmers of America convention before the crowds arrive (Photo Credit: Jerry Merideth, U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL