BOZEMAN – Montana State University will host 1,500 high school and middle school students from across the state on Nov. 14-16 for the eighth annual John Deere Ag Expo. The second day of the expo, Friday, Nov. 15, is free and open to the public as Agricultural Education Enrichment Day.

The annual event includes leadership development workshops, education in career options with industry representatives and tours of MSU research and academic facilities. Students will also compete in various FFA activities, such as quiz bowls and livestock judging competitions, which will be hosted both on campus and at the Gallatin County fairgrounds.

The expo is the result of a partnership between the university, Montana John Deere dealers and the Montana FFA Foundation. The foundation supports 99 FFA chapters across the state, representing over 5,100 members. The foundation’s mission is to cultivate partnerships, promote awareness and secure resources to enhance agricultural education and opportunities for students.

Friday, Nov. 15 will be Agricultural Education Enrichment Day, designed for teachers, students, parents, school administrators, business leaders and other interested Bozeman community members about opportunities available through agricultural education and FFA. Guest speakers at the event will include Sreekala Bajwa, MSU’s vice president of agriculture and dean of the College of Agriculture.

“This is one of my favorite events that the Montana FFA has the privilege of providing for our youth,” said Gwynn Simeniuk, executive director of the Montana FFA Foundation. “It’s amazing to see how much this event has grown. We see numerous middle school and freshmen students attend. This is often their first state-level leadership conference, and there is so much positive energy that emanates from their peers, our supporters and motivational speakers that it lights a fire in their bellies to become impactful servant leaders when they return to their home communities across the state.”

The expo is largely a volunteer-run event, requiring about 450 judges and volunteers to put on the 23 career development events. No experience is required to volunteer, and those who are interested can sign up at HERE.

Groups can also register to host an exhibit at the expo’s career fair on Nov. 15. More information on the career fair can be found at www.MontanaFFA.org.