The Future Farmers of America (now the National FFA Organization) was established in 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri. In the past 90+ years, this organization has been a landmark for so many individuals. It has set the precedent for future leaders in the agriculture industry and supported students as they followed their passion for agriculture.
In recent years, FFA has been questioned and harassed by activists. Their misunderstanding and blatant tormenting could cause uprisings and equal harassment from FFA members defending their passion for their organization. However, instead of stooping to that level, let’s just remind ourselves why the National FFA Organization is so important and what it has done for millions of individuals interested in learning more about the agriculture industry and becoming responsible advocates.
Through tradition, a curated educational program, and the devotion of its members and supports, the National FFA Organization has impacted the lives of many.
Here are our favorite things about the National FFA Organization and why it is so important to the agriculture industry:
1. Provides leadership skills
As the top school-based youth leadership development organization in the nation, FFA continues to help young people meet new agricultural challenges by helping members develop their unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways. When you hear that someone was involved in FFA, you know they have gone through the preparation to become a good leader. As a pillar of the National FFA Organization, leadership among students can be found in every aspect of the organization — from the local level all the way to the National FFA Officers.
2. Gives students a safe place to learn and live
FFA is a safe place for those who are looking for a place to fit in. For many students, FFA is their favorite part of school and extracurricular activities. They are able to find comfort in the friendships created, advisors, projects, and teachers. The environment of FFA provides many different learning opportunities.
3. Career preparation
Although FFA is certainly for future farmers, it is also for future chemists, veterinarians, government officials, entrepreneurs, bankers, international business leaders, teachers, and so many others. For example, through Career and Leadership Development Events, FFA members get a leg up on their future careers by developing the skills needed to seek employment in their industry. The skills learned in FFA, like public speaking and leadership development, will help you at every stage in your life.
4. The teaching structure is unlike any other
Agricultural education prepares students for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources systems. According to the National FFA Organization, “Today, over 800,000 students participate in formal agricultural education instructional programs offered in grades seven-adult throughout the 50 states and three U. S. territories.” When students are able to be their most authentic selves and learn by doing, they are able to reach their full potential.
5. It is more than just a jacket
The FFA jacket represents a lifestyle of new opportunities, tradition, leadership, agriculture, commitment, pride, community service, social responsibility, a sense of belonging, and so much more. When an FFA member is wearing official dress, they are held to a higher standard — they are held to the FFA standard. The FFA jacket means many things to different FFA students, but it always represents the organization and the tradition it holds.
6. Provides tradition for its members
The National FFA Organization has many traditions and a long history of being a crucial part of molding the future of the agriculture industry. Traditions like the FFA creed and the symbolism in the organization is well known to its members. Also, the pride of wearing the FFA jacket to events and conferences are memories that alumni will always retain.
7. Friends that turn into family
When you ask many FFA members, they have found an FFAmily within their local chapter. For many, the long bus rides, competitive events, and fun learning environment creates a sense of family and belonging within this organization. You create memories with friends that you will remember for years to come.
8. Sparks a competitive nature
FFA members quickly learn that you must work hard to get what you want – even if you don’t win. FFA teaches you that even though a loss might sting, you can learn many lessons from losing. After losing, your teammates will encourage you to use that as motivation to try harder the next time and keep going.
9. Improves public speaking
Although often dreaded at first, public speaking is one of the most important skills FFA teaches its young members. These skills eventually create confidence and poise in an individual. No matter what career students eventually pursues, their public speaking skills will be utilized.
With millions of former FFA members, the National FFA Organization network is extensive. Everything from celebrities, to presidents, to scientists, and everything in between, FFA has connections to many different industries. These connections can be beneficial for internships, scholarships, and career opportunities.
So while some may question the need for the National FFA Organization, I think we need it now more than ever. This organization is a safe place for students to learn and find their passion for not only agriculture, but so many other industries and skills. Without this organization, many of those in the agriculture industry would not be where they are today.