“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” said Brian Walsh, National FFA President and 2011 Central High School graduate. “And, I don’t think it will sink in for a while. I am overjoyed! I am so excited!” he exclaimed. Brian words of disbelief and joy describe how he feels about the opportunity to lead an organization that boosts more than 579,000 members nationwide.
Brian Walsh was elected National FFA President on November 2, 2013, at the FFA’s National Convention held in Louisville, Kentucky.
Brian Walsh is first from left in this photo of National FFA officers which includes, in addition to the President, four Regional Vice-Presidents, and a Secretary.
Brian was selected from a pool of 41 other candidates from across America. He is one of only four other National FFA presidents to come from Virginia since the FFA was founded in 1928 by a group of young adults including agriculture teachers in Weyers Cave, Virginia.
Residents will have a chance to personally congratulate Brian Walsh on November 23 in Central High School’s Cafeteria from 4 – 6 PM. The public is cordially invited to this reception held in his honor.
Brian is currently a sophomore at Virginia Tech where his major is Agribusiness and his minor is Leadership. After his election as state FFA President in June 2011, Brian delayed entry into VA Tech and, as is customary for FFA state presidents, he spent the year traveling across the state as an “ambassador for agriculture” and leader of the FFA
Brian completed his freshman year at VA Tech during 2012-13 and also spent time preparing for the 2013 National FFA election. Now that he is National FFA President, Brian will once again say good-bye to VA Tech. He will finish his first semester studies early so that he can head to Indianapolis for leadership training with the other national officers. He will spend more than 300 days of his tenure traveling to other states and to Japan as an advocate for agriculture and the FFA, presenting at conferences, and honing the leadership skills of FFA state officers.
Already, Brian has some appointments scheduled. On November 13, he met with Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia and with Matt Lohr, Virginia’s Commissioner of Agriculture.
Brian Walsh has never lived on a farm, but he’s been raising and showing livestock since he was nine years old. He spent his early years in Leesburg, VA (Loudoun County), where his family participated in 4-H events. When Brian was in the sixth grade, the family moved to Shenandoah County and leased eight acres near their Woodstock home where they raised hogs and lambs.
As a ninth grader at Central High School, Brian enrolled in agriculture courses and joined the FFA, a life-changing decision for him. It was at Central High School, that Brian came under the mentorship of agriculture teachers and FFA advisers Sherry Heishman (VA Agriscience Teacher of the Year 2011-12), and Dana Fisher ( National FFA Vice-President 1997-98).
Both teachers were “top-notch,” Brian said in an interview with the Northern VA Daily (2011). “I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
One of the FFA websites states: the National FFA Organization is a dynamic youth organization that changes lives and prepares students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
Brian Walsh could be a poster child for the National FFA. He has, or he will in the future, fulfill all parts of their description. He himself credits the FFA and his teachers for his success.
Yet, Brian’s story, would not be the same without his own hard work and dedication. His agriculture teachers have used strong adjectives to describe him including "tremendous" student, "incredible" win, and "outstanding" individual.
After college and possibly teaching for a few years, Brian hopes to work with the Virginia FFA organization at the state level. He adds, however, that he will also “always be involved in production agriculture. “