INDIANAPOLIS — Crowds of kids walking around in blue jackets are filling the streets of downtown Indianapolis this week.
They're coming from all corners of Hoosier state and across the country for the 96th Annual National FFA Convention & Expo.
70,000 members will fill the halls right here at the Indiana Convention Center from Nov. 1-4.
One component of the week is Career Success Tours, which provide real-world looks at hundreds of careers in agriculture and beyond.
“FFA is a lot more than plows and cows," high school senior Kendal Lambert said.
It’s about time for the 17-year-old to start thinking about her future.
And she knows exactly what career path she wants to take.
“Agriculture is what runs, is what keeps America going," she said.
Lambert traveled from Central Florida to the Circle City for the convention.
On Thursday, she and dozens of other FFA members got a chance to see up close what a career in agriculture looks like at Victory Field.
“We’re just hoping to open some eyes to students that there’s a career in turf science and it can lead you to careers in golf courses, sports fields, collegiate athletics," Joey Stevenson, Director of Field Operations for the Indianapolis Indians, said.
He studied Turf Science at Purdue University and was an FFA member himself.
Stevenson’s two passions in life are farming and baseball.
He combines the two everyday at work.
“Anywhere there’s grass, there’s someone like me in that position," Stevenson said.
Victory Field is under some major renovations right now.
“The field itself was 30 years old. New drainage, new irrigation, all new root zone material, all new grass," he said.
350 dump truck loads of dirt and sod will be excavated from the old field to allow for installation of new drainage tile, irrigation and sod for a new field.
The project started at the beginning of October and will run into March.
“When we open up for the 2024 season, we’ll have a brand new field from top to bottom," Stevenson said.
Getting a look at all of the renovations at Victory Field is just one stop on a week of activities for the FFA members.
“It’s important for us when the students are here to educate them on what all is available to them," Associate Director of Convention and Events Mandy Hazlett said.
Hazlett says people don’t realize how many different types of careers fall under the agriculture umbrella.
“It’s anything from traditional production farming all the way to ag communications, marketing, communications, public relations, biotech, animal science, vet science. You think about, you name it,” Hazlett said.
The convention is expected to bring $39 million economic impact to the City of Indianapolis.