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State FFA officers elected

Pictured (L to R) Thaddeus Bergschneider, Riley Kessler, Benjamin Bremmer, Eric Wisely, and Cooper Nelson (photo provided).

SPRINGFIELD – The 2023-2024 Illinois State Officer Team was elected Thursday, June 15, via in-person voting during the 95th annual Illinois FFA State Convention.

The officers were installed immediately following the election and will serve the Illinois Association FFA for the next twelve months.

The newly elected officers are:

· President: Thaddeus Bergschneider, 18, of Franklin (Morgan County) and the Franklin FFA Chapter. He is the son of Paul and Janie Bergschneider and a 2023 graduate of Franklin High School. “Being a state officer means having opportunities to give hope, encouragement, and purpose to members from all backgrounds and circumstances,” Bergschneider says. “I want be able to help them shape their life, goals, and aspirations.”

· Vice President: Eric Wisely, 19, of Oakdale (Washington County) and the Nashville FFA Chapter. He is the son of Jimmy and Denise Wisely, a 2022 graduate of Nashville Community High School, and enrolled at Southern Illinois University Carbondale studying agricultural education. “As a state officer, I want to be real with members and assure them that capable leaders are not flawless people,” Wisely says. “I want to prove to members that inconveniences can be opportunities in disguise and help them reach their full potential.”

· Reporter: Cooper Nelson, 18, of Canton (Fulton County) and the Canton FFA Chapter. He is the son of Brent and Cassie Nelson and a 2023 graduate of Canton High School. “As a state officer, I look forward to connecting with new people and having a positive impact on them,” Nelson says. “I want to show members that by being passionate about the FFA and working hard, they’ll have a great experience.”

· Secretary: Riley Kessler, 18, of New Douglas (Madison County) and the Staunton FFA Chapter. She is the daughter of Michael and Lisa Kessler and a 2023 graduate of Staunton High School. “As a state officer, I want to share my love, dedication, and passion for our organization with members,” Kessler says. “In the words of a song I heard at my first state FFA convention, I want to encourage them to ‘elevate a little higher, don’t even hesitate, and just let it escalate.’”

· Treasurer: Benjamin Bremmer, 18, of Pearl City (Stephenson County) and the Pearl City FFA Chapter. He is the son of Chad and Deborah Bremmer, a 2022 graduate of Pearl City High School, and enrolled at Highland Community College studying agriculture business. “For our organization to grow, we need to adapt and change as the world around us progresses,” Bremmer says. “But we also need to preserve our roots to keep us grounded as individuals. As a state officer, I want to help members find their passion in the FFA and grow as leaders and individuals.”

The five officers were elected from a group of 10 candidates selected by a committee in late April. Each officer puts their collegiate pursuits on hold for one year as they serve the Illinois Association FFA. Officers typically travel more than 20,000 miles visiting FFA chapters around the state, conducting workshops and meetings, representing Illinois FFA in professional settings, and promoting agricultural education. Since 1929, Illinois has elected a State FFA Officer Team.

The 95th annual Illinois State FFA Convention hosted more than 5,000 FFA members, advisors, and guests from June 13-15. With a 2023 theme of “Electrify,” the three-day event annually recognizes achievements of Illinois FFA members, elects the major state officer team, and celebrates agriculture.

Students at the convention were greeted with activities including a career fair featuring colleges and agribusinesses and an opportunity to engage in the history of Illinois’ capital city. The sessions featured addresses by National FFA Eastern Region Vice President Gracie Murphy of Illinois and from each of the retiring major state officers.


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