November 24, 2008 // Franchising.com // (KANSAS CITY, Mo.) - More than 54,000 FFA members and guests from across the country assembled in Indianapolis this October for the 81st National FFA Convention. Among those guests was United Country Real Estate, a major sponsor of the FFA and the primary sponsor of the group's annual alumni auction.
The FFA Alumni Auction is the culmination of a year's activities for its more than 47,300 active members. The event capped off a memorable convention with more than 1,000 items offered in the live, silent and online auctions. After last year's record-breaking results, this year's auction was expected to raise $160,000 to benefit FFA members with scholarships to the Washington Leadership Conference and toward agricultural education degrees.
Mike Jones, CAI, GPPA, president of United Country Auction Services, conducted the Alumni Auction for the second year, along with several United Country affiliates from across the nation. During the live auction, he invited Jacob Barth, 2008 International Junior Auctioneer Champion and FFA member from Moses Lake, Wash., to join him on stage to help call bids. Together, Jones and Barth auctioned unique and often priceless items, helping raise a total of more than $198,000.
"The Alumni Auctions were a huge success and through the hard work and dedication of alumni members and supporters, those in the blue corduroy will continue to develop into the leaders of tomorrow," said Jones.
In addition to conducting the FFA Alumni Auction, United Country's chief executive officer, Dan Duffy, serves on the National FFA Foundation Sponsors' Board, and the company funds college scholarships through the Foundation.
During the October convention, students were named winners of several Foundation awards, including the Agricultural Proficiency Awards sponsored by United Country. Kellie Whipple of the Alva, Okla., chapter was named the national winner of the Wildlife Production and Management - Placement Proficiency Award for her work at Saint Plains National Wildlife Refuge, and Chelsie McKenzie of the Scottsbluff, Neb., chapter was named the national winner of the Agricultural Services - Entrepreneurship/Placement Proficiency Award.
The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of more than 500,000 student members - all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture - as part of 7,439 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Organization changed to its present name in 1988, in recognition of the growth and diversity of agriculture and agricultural education. 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. More information is available online at www.ffa.org.
United Country Real Estate is the only national real estate franchise system specializing in properties in and around the small cities and towns of America. Based in Kansas City, Mo., the company has been an innovator in real estate marketing since 1925. United Country supports nearly 675 offices nationwide with a unique, comprehensive marketing program that includes one of the leading web sites in the real estate market, proprietary real estate catalogs, an extensive buyer database and national advertising of properties to over 90 million homes a week. United Country has been named as a Top 25 Franchise by the Wall Street Journal and among Entrepreneur Magazine's Franchise 500®. In January 2007, the company introduced United Country Auction Services, becoming the nation's largest integrated network of traditional real estate agents and real estate auctioneers.