By David B. Strickland
Poultry Times staff
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Mike Giles, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation, was recently honored by the National FFA Organization as one of this year’s recipients of its Honorary American FFA Degree.
Giles was given the award on Nov. 1, during the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Ind.
While in the midst of the “celebration of blue jackets,” Giles noted that the convention is, “one of the best examples of our young leaders who are eager to start their careers in agriculture and agribusiness. It’s a very inspiring convention.”
The National FFA says that the Honorary American award is given “to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment. Without the efforts of highly dedicated individuals, thousands of young people would not be able to achieve the success that, in turn, contributes directly to the overall well-being of the nation.”
“The Honorary American FFA Degree is an opportunity to recognize those who have gone beyond valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students, inspiring confidence in a new generation of agriculturists.”
As a youth, growing up in Dooly County in middle Georgia, Giles knew the value of agriculture. His family ran an agribusiness that provided goods and services to farmers.
He also expressed that, at the core of it all, organizations like FFA are providing students with leadership experiences and opportunities that will assist them, regardless of what ultimately becomes their career path.
“Over the years, FFA has just continued to thrive,” Giles added. “It’s still this amazingly diverse group of young people. Young people who are interested in agriculture in a really broad sense. With technology and agribusinesses, there will be plenty who go on to careers that are unrelated to agriculture, but they’ve had this great experience of leadership and being exposed to things that agriculture provides society.”
FFA contributes to the agricultural education to members all across the nation, now with approximately 670,000 student members involved with one of 8,630 local chapters all across the U.S. Many FFA leaders will also get to expand their knowledge of the poultry industry with their involvement in the upcoming International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, Ga., in January.
Giles added that with his work with the Georgia Poultry Federation, it’s always been rewarding to see the benefit of helping youth groups like FFA on not just this large national level, but also on the local level.
“I’m really honored and humbled by this award,” he said. “I just love all the people associated with FFA, and being around these young leaders is just inspiring. The national convention is an amazing thing because of its size and you see these young people that have really worked hard to be there and are really excelling with FFA; but if you can go to local events and be around the local FFA members — you feel the same thing.”