Cherokee County is known for its waterfalls and Native American heritage. Aside from beautiful scenery, the county has a new claim to fame — Sand Rock graduate Wiley Bailey was elected National FFA Southern Region vice president during the 85th National FFA Convention, Oct. 24-27 in Indianapolis.
Bailey, an agricultural communications student at Auburn University, said he’s always had a love of agriculture and can’t wait to share his enthusiasm on a national platform.
“I am overjoyed and excited to have the opportunity to listen to others and genuinely care about their concerns,” said Bailey, the 14th national officer from Alabama since the organization was founded in 1928. “It is my goal to advocate for agricultural education and be a voice for members and production agriculturalists throughout the year.”
Bailey, 20, is no stranger to leadership positions in FFA. He served as state secretary, North District Vice President, North District treasurer and chapter president for Sand Rock High School’s FFA chapter — all under the leadership of Sand Rock FFA advisors Christina Richardson and his father, Barry Bailey.
Alabama Farmers Federation Young Farmers Director Jennifer Himburg said Bailey’s selection is a testament to the state’s emphasis on agricultural and educational excellence.
“Wiley is a tremendous asset to Alabama agriculture, and we are excited to know he will represent both our state and more than a half-million FFA members next year,” said Himburg, who was a national FFA officer from Alabama in 2006. “His love and concern for others will help him connect with students and leave an impact long after his year of service.”
Joining Bailey on the 2012-13 National FFA Officer Team are President Clay Sapp of Florida, National Secretary Kalie Hall of Georgia, Eastern Region Vice President Joenelle Futrell of Kentucky, Western Region Vice President Lindsey Anderson of California and Central Region Vice President Brennan Costello of Nebraska.
The officers will travel more than 100,000 miles across the country to engage top leaders in business, government and education. They lead personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members, and help set policies to guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.
In his spare time, Bailey said he enjoys playing the banjo in a family band called “The Baileys”, which often entertains at churches in north Alabama.
“Each time I pick up my banjo, I remember what it takes to make beautiful music and discover more about how I can use these principles to better every other aspect of my life,” explained Bailey. “When I play, I never think about my imperfections or how big the audience is. I simply love playing, and I put everything I have into each moment on stage.”
The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 557,318 student members as part of 7,498 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.