University of Florida student Clay Sapp has been elected president of the national FFA organization.
Sapp, a junior in UF's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences' agricultural education and communication department, was elected FFA president at the organization's national meeting last month in Indianapolis.
"It's been a long journey, and I've learned a lot about myself and my leadership skills and abilities," Sapp said. "I am really glad to have the opportunity to serve the members over the next year across the country."
As FFA national president, Sapp will travel the country next year speaking to FFA members, sponsors and policymakers. His term began Oct. 27.
Sapp started at UF in spring 2012 and credits the AEC department, part of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, with helping him prepare both for the leadership role and for his career goal, teaching agricultural education in schools.
"Not only did they help me by going through some practice interview rounds, but being able to talk with the professors about the current and future state of agricultural education provided me with a great knowledge base and some ways to improve agricultural education and communication in the years to come," he said.
He grew up near in Madison, Fla., in the Florida Panhandle, and graduated from Madison County High School. His parents are Ed and Gina Sapp
Before becoming national president, Sapp served as president of the group in Florida. He started with FFA in middle school with a livestock project in which he showed a market hog at a local fair. He calls his father, a high school agriculture teacher, his biggest role model.
"Seeing him interacting with students in the classroom definitely played a major part in me wanting to become an agriculture teacher and wanting to be a servant in the FFA organization," Sapp said.
After his term as president ends in 2013, Sapp plans to return to UF to finish his degree.