The National FFA Organization
is an American youth organization known as a Career and Technical Student Organization
Career and Technical Student Organizations are vocational organizations primarily based in high schools and career technology centers. Often, on the state level, they are integrated into Departments of Education or incorporated as non-profit organizations. Many states define CTSOs as "integral...
, based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...
. The organization was founded in 1928 as Future Farmers of America
, but in 1988 the name was changed to the National FFA Organization, now commonly referred to as simply FFA
, to recognize that the organization is for those with diverse interests in the food, fiber and natural resource industries, encompassing science, business and technology in addition to production agriculture. Today FFA is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 520,000 members in 7,439 chapters throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...
, and the Virgin Islands. FFA is the largest of the career and technical student organizations in US schools.
The organization holds a congressional charter
A congressional charter is a law passed by the United States Congress that states the mission, authority and activities of a group. Congress issued federal charters from 1791 until 1992 under Title 36 of the United States Code....
under Title 36 of the United States Code
Title 36 of the United States Code outlines the role of Patriotic Societies and Observances in the United States Code.*Subtitle I—Patriotic and National Observances and Ceremonies*Subtitle II—Patriotic and National Organizations...
The National FFA Organization is a dynamic youth leadership organization that strives to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education. High school students compete in various events called Career Development Events (CDEs) and Leadership Development Events. Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs are programs designed to broaden the students abilities and experience in different fields of street material. Students are supervised by education teachers in cooperation with parents, employers and other adults who assist individuals in the development and achievement of educational and career goals. Today, FFA has over 520,000 members if not more across the nation. These students strive for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.
FFA is represented at several different levels across the nation; FFA administration may change from state to state. The basic levels are the national level, serving all of the United States of America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; the state level, serving an individual state association; and the chapter level, serving a school or set of schools in an area. By definition, there can be three types of chapters at the secondary level, they are middle for middle school, junior for ninth grade and senior which can be either tenth through twelfth or ninth through twelfth depending on the school. Other levels include districts, subdistricts, sections, regions, areas, federations, etc.
Originally created to serve high school students, the FFA has recently moved into middle schools where membership may begin as early as age 12, allowing members to become active earlier and stay active for longer. Each chapter is chartered as part of the state association and national organization. Collegiate chapters now exist, as well.
Many levels also meet throughout the year in preliminary or final CDE contests hosted at schools in the division the can be CDEs or just banquets, barbecues, conventions, etc. this can vary state to state.
Most states hold FFA conventions at least once annually, where members get together to be inspired, renew their faith in agriculture, compete in CDEs, and much more. The National FFA Convention is held once a year in October, and was originally held in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...
, from 1928–1998, but moved to Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...
(1999–2005), for seven years, and is currently held at the Indiana Convention Center
The Indiana Convention Center is a convention center located in Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. It contains over of open exhibit space and almost of group meeting space. It was finished in late 1983 along with the Hoosier Dome , which it was connected to prior the Dome's deconstruction in 2008....
in Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...
, from 2006 to present.
Officers of FFA
As the FFA is a member-led organization intended to serve youth around the Nation, it elects officers from its own diverse membership to certain levels of the FFA. At the Chapter level, and many other levels, officers elected are usually:
- President — The President is stationed by the rising sun, a symbol of a new era in agriculture.
- Vice President — Stationed by the plow, the symbol of labor and tillage of the soil.
- Secretary — Stationed by the ear of corn, the symbol of the national span of FFA because corn is grown in all fifty states.
- Treasurer —Stationed by emblem of Washington, to keep an accurate account of receipts and disbursements just as Washington kept his farm account.
- Reporter — Stationed by the flag, to inform the people that the FFA is a national organization.
- Sentinel — Stationed by the door, they are the ones who greet guests and members.
- Advisor — Stationed by the owl, the emblem of knowledge and wisdom
Others may include
- Parliamentarian —Stationed by a copy of Robert's Rules of Order
Robert's Rules of Order is the short title of a book containing rules of order intended to be adopted as a parliamentary authority for use by a deliberative assembly written by Brig. Gen...
or the eagle.
- Historian — Stationed at the scrolls or chapter scrapbook.
- The Student Advisor — Stationed by the owl or the key.
- Chaplain — Stationed by the Bible or Book.
- Executive Committee/ Executive Board.
Each officer is an agricultural student and holds responsibilities needed to serve, and are elected each year by members at the respective levels.
- Eastern Region Vice President
- Southern ballsac Vice President
- Central Region Vice President
- Western Region Vice President
This allows officers to be elected to one of the four national regions of the FFA, as well as a President and a Secretary.
Official FFA Dress
The most recognizable symbol of the organization is the blue corduroy jacket that is worn by current FFA members. Originally created to be worn by the Fredericktown Band of the Fredericktown FFA Chapter by Dr. Gus Lintner the Official FFA Jacket was adopted in 1933 as the Organization's Official Dress. Official Dress for members is as follows:
- Black dress pants. (No; jeans (blue or black), leather, pleather, etc.)
- White dress shirt and official FFA tie.
- Black dress shoes with a closed heel and toe. (No boots, sandals, open-toed shoes or tennis shoes.)
- Black socks.
- Official FFA jacket zipped to the top.
- Black skirt.
- Skirt is to be at least knee length, hemmed evenly across the bottom, with a slit no longer than 2 inches above the knee, excluding the kick pleat. * Black slacks may be appropriate for traveling and outdoor activities.
- White collared blouse and official FFA blue scarf.
- Black dress shoes with a closed heel and toe (No boots, sandals, open-toed shoes or tennis shoes.)
- Black nylon hosiery.
- Official FFA jacket zipped to the top.
Members through their time in the FFA work to earn metal pins to place on their jackets Awards include contests pins and proficiency awards. There should never be more than 3 pins on the front of the jacket. Pins that can be below the student's name includes the highest office, highest award, and Discovery, Greenhand, Chapter degrees. The State and American degrees are the only ones that can be above the name if not on a 15"- 20" official FFA degree chain. If a member has earned the State or American FFA degree no other pins should be displayed. No other pins should be displayed either way in these cases. If the member holds the American Degree the state degree should also be removed.
Over the years, FFA jackets have come in many forms and colors. Changing suppliers and newer design specifications allowed the jacket to fit awkwardly and the color to turn a deep purple, with orange emblem. Efforts by the National FFA, under the campaign "Only Blue Will Do," redesigned the FFA jacket to its original crisp blue color. In addition, the cost of the jacket was lowered, and original design elements were restored, such as specialized stitching. All new jackets now are produced to strict standards of quality.
As an organization, the FFA has many traditions and trademarks identifying it as an agricultural education organization:
The FFA Motto: Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.
The FFA Mission: The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.
The Official FFA Colors: National Blue and Corn Gold (worn on the Official FFA jackets).
The FFA Creed
The FFA creed was written by Erwin Milton "E.M." Tiffany of Wisconsin and adopted at the 3rd National Convention of the FFA. It was revised at the 38th Convention and the 63rd Convention. It is recited by new members to the organization, to reflect their growing belief in agriculture and agricultural education it also must be memorized and recited to earn the Greenhand Degree.
I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds - achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.
I believe that to live and work on a good farm or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement I cannot deny.
I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturalists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.
I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so-for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.
I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.
Career Development Events
FFA Career Development Event, or CDE's, are contests that members compete in to test their skills learned through agricultural education instruction. They vary at the different levels of the FFA, and some are competed in only at certain levels and certain states, districts, areas or federations.
At the National level, there are 23 CDE's:
Examples of CDEs that can be available at the state level are:
- Small Animal Care
Arboriculture is the cultivation, management, and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants. It is both a practice and a science....
- Safe Equipment Operation
- Land Judging
- Rangeland Judging
- Ag Electricity
- Opening/Closing Ceremonies
- Website Development
- Vegetable Judging
- Tractor Operations
- Greenhand CDE
- Apple Judging
- Potato Judging
- F.A.R.M education
- Citrus Judging
Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs
To be an active member in the National FFA Organization, a member must have an Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project. The projects involve hands-on application of concepts and principles learned in the agricultural education classroom, with guidelines for the SAE projects governed by the state FFA delegation. SAE programs are grouped into four different areas:
- Exploratory - learning about the 'big picture' of agriculture and related careers
- Research/Experimentation and Analysis - conducting research or analysis of information to discover new knowledge
- Ownership/Entrepreneurship - planning and operation of an agriculture-related business
- Placement - working either for pay or experience in an agricultural setting
- Sam Brownback
Samuel Dale "Sam" Brownback is the 46th and current Governor of Kansas. A member of the Republican Party, he served as a U.S. Senator from Kansas from 1996 to 2011, and as a U.S. Representative for Kansas's 2nd congressional district from 1995 to 1996...
, U.S. Senator, Past National FFA Vice President
- Harold Brubaker, North Carolina state representative
- Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...
, Former U.S. President
In business and industry
- Thomas J. Watson, Sr.
Thomas John Watson, Sr. was president of International Business Machines , who oversaw that company's growth into an international force from 1914 to 1956...
, longtime head of IBM, was one of FFA's founders
- Trace Adkins
Tracy Darrell "Trace" Adkins is an American country music artist. He made his debut in 1996 with the album Dreamin' Out Loud, released on Capitol Records Nashville. Since then, Adkins has released seven more studio albums and two Greatest Hits compilations...
, music entertainer
- Chris Colfer
Christopher Paul "Chris" Colfer is an American actor and singer known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the television series Glee, for which he won a 2011 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and was also nominated twice for an Emmy...
, actor best known for Glee
Glee is an American musical comedy-drama television series that airs on Fox in the United States, and on GlobalTV in Canada. It focuses on the high school glee club New Directions competing on the show choir competition circuit, while its members deal with relationships, sexuality and social issues...
- Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Suzanne Crow is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, musician, and actress. Her music incorporates elements of rock, folk, hip hop, country and pop...
, music entertainer
- Steve Doocy
Stephen James "Steve" Doocy is an American network-television personality on the Fox News Channel, journalist, and a best selling author.-Early life:...
, network-television personality on the FOX News Channel and a best selling author. Co-host of Fox & Friends
Fox & Friends is an American morning television show on the Fox News Channel.-History:The show begins at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time with the latest Fox News Live headlines and analyzes the news of the morning...
in the mornings.
- Matthew Fox
Matthew Chandler Fox is an American actor. He is mostly known for his role as Charlie Salinger on Party of Five, and for portraying Jack Shephard on the supernatural drama television series Lost.- Early life :...
, actor best known for Lost
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...
and Party of Five
Party of Five is an American teen drama television series that aired on Fox for six seasons, from September 12, 1994, until May 3, 2000.Critically acclaimed, the show suffered from low ratings and after its first season was slated for cancellation...
- Don Henley
Donald Hugh "Don" Henley is an American singer, songwriter and drummer, best known as a founding member of the Eagles before launching a successful solo career. Henley was the drummer and lead vocalist for the Eagles from 1971–1980, when the band broke up...
, music entertainer
- Toby Keith
Toby Keith Covel , best known as Toby Keith, is an American country music singer-songwriter, record producer and actor. Keith released his first four studio albums — 1993's Toby Keith, 1994's Boomtown, 1996's Blue Moon and 1997's Dream Walkin, plus a Greatest Hits package for various divisions of...
, music entertainer
- Lyle Lovett
Lyle Pearce Lovett is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Active since 1980, he has recorded thirteen albums and released 21 singles to date, including his highest entry, the number 10 chart hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, "Cowboy Man"...
, music entertainer
- Tim McGraw
Samuel Timothy "Tim" McGraw is an American country singer and actor. Many of McGraw's albums and singles have topped the country music charts with total album sales in excess of 40 million units in the US, making him the eighth best-selling artist, and the third best-selling country singer, in the...
, music entertainer
- Eddie Montgomery, music entertainer half of the duo Montgomery Gentry
Montgomery Gentry is an American country music duo composed of vocalists Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry. The two began performing in the 1990s as part of a band which also included Eddie Montgomery's brother John Michael Montgomery, and founded the existing duo in 1999.Signed to Columbia Records,...
(brother of country singer John Michael Montgomery)
- Willie Nelson
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...
, music entertainer
- Orion Samuelson
Orion "The Big O" Samuelson is an American broadcaster, most widely known for hosting U.S. Farm Report. He was inducted in to the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2003.-Biography:...
, Radio Broadcaster
- Taylor Swift
Taylor Alison Swift is an American country pop singer-songwriter, musician and actress.In 2006, she released her debut single "Tim McGraw", then her self-titled debut album, which was subsequently certified multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America...
, music entertainer
- Josh Shipp
Josh Shipp is an American teen behavior expert, motivational speaker, author, and TV show host. Josh began professionally speaking at age 17. He was president of Oklahoma DECA in High school. Starting in 2005, he was selected as a spokesperson for National Foster Care Month...
, motivational speaker & entertainer
In the arts
- Jim Davis
James Robert Davis is an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of the comic strip Garfield, which he signs as Jim Davis. He has also worked on other strips: Tumbleweeds, Gnorm Gnat, U.S. Acres and a strip about Mr...
, creator of the Garfield comic strip
- Jared Hess
Jared Lawrence Hess is an American filmmaker known for his work Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre , which he co-wrote and directed with his wife, Jerusha Hess....
, director of Napoleon Dynamite
- Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize Winner, past Oregon State Officer
- John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp, previously known by the stage names Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp, is an American rock singer-songwriter, musician, painter and occasional actor known for his catchy, populist brand of heartland rock that eschews synthesizers and other artificial sounds...
Recording Artist Co-Founder of Farm Aid
Some History points
- 1928 FFA is established
- 1929 National blue and corn Gold is adopted as official colors
- 1930 Official FFA creed adopted
- 1944 Future Farmers of America Foundation formed
- 1969 Girls are allowed to join FFA
- 1988 Official Name change from future farmers of America to FFA Organization
- 2006 National FFA Foundation receives first $1 million contribution from Ford Motor Company.
- 2009 FFA celebrates 40 years of women in the organization.
- 2010 FFA members earn a record 3,449 American FFA Degrees.
- 2011 National FFA Alumni Association celebrates its 40th anniversary.
- Sterling Marlin
Sterling Marlin is a retired NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. He is the son of late NASCAR driver Coo Coo Marlin. He is married to Paula and has a daughter, Sutherlin, and a son, Steadman, who sometimes races in the Nationwide Series....
, NASCAR driver
- Bo Jackson
Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson is a former American baseball and football player. He was the first athlete to be named an All-Star in two major American sports, and also won the Heisman Trophy in 1985....
, American athlete and a former multi-sport professional in American football (NFL) and Baseball (MLB)
- Bryant Reeves
Bryant Reeves is an American retired professional basketball player for the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies...
, retired American professional basketball player for the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies
- Mark Tauscher
Mark Tauscher is an American football offensive tackle who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 2000 NFL Draft...
, American football Offensive Tackle for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.
- Brad Meester
Bradley Ryan Meester is an American football center for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Jaguars in the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft...
, American football center for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League. Former FFA chapter president.