Now that I have experienced the convention and witnessed those 55,000 blue-jacketed attendees firsthand, I more fully understand the magnitude of this gathering and the overwhelmingly positive impact it has on our city.
It's easy to cite the financial impact, an estimated $40 million. You see it in our hotels, restaurants and retail outlets.
But FFA is so much more than that.
As tomorrow's leaders, some of these young people will have a profound impact in determining how the world's food chain meets future demands. They are certain to grapple with significant global issues, which hopefully will benefit all mankind.
FFA also provides the opportunity to expose Indianapolis and its amenities to these young people with the possibility that as adults, they may want to return here to work in agribusiness or life sciences or visit as a tourist.
In the present, however, it's about their attitude and spirit. They make our city buzz with energy while they are here.
I congratulate the leadership of National FFA, which is headquartered here. You clearly have the best interests of those young people at the core of your mission.
I also want to recognize the outstanding corporate support that has made FFA a fixture in Indianapolis for the last three years, beginning with the tireless work of Ted McKinney of Dow AgroSciences, co-chairman of the host committee. Ted epitomizes the volunteer leadership that has enabled Indianapolis to stand out among its peers.
We are happy to play host city for your important business through 2012 and are hopeful that when you select your destination within the next few weeks that you will honor us with your continued presence for 2013-2019. Whatever the outcome, thanks for the privilege of hosting the FFA and for bringing those wonderful young people to our community.
Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association