With National FFA President David Townsend reigning from the state of Delaware, we wanted to find out more about the FFA program in this small Mid-Atlantic state. Delaware FFA Advisor Bart Gill gave us the 411 on this unique chapter.
“The Delaware FFA is a relatively small association when compared to other state associations. Even though we are a small association in membership numbers, Delaware FFA members are earning top honors at the national level and are competitive with members from around the country,” Gill said. “Consistently, Delaware FFA members are earning top 10 and top 5 placings at the National FFA Convention in the Agriscience Fair and Career Development and Leadership Development Events.”
The state chapter has also been active in universal projects. Last year Delaware FFA brought their “Outredgeous Red Romaine Lettuce” plants, grown from sister seeds to lettuce grown on the International Space Station, to The People’s Garden. The lettuce seeds are from the same lot and bag as those flown to the International Space Station on the CRS-3 mission inside SpaceX’s dragon capsule launched April 18, 2014. The first crop was harvested in 33 days and then sent to NASA Scientists at Kennedy Space Center for analysis. The second crop of lettuce was started on July 8, 2015, by NASA’s one-year astronaut, Scott Kelly. After 33 days, those plants were harvested and eaten.
Another unique endeavor in Delaware hails from the Woodbridge FFA chapter. The 300-member FFA organization manages a 16-acre agricultural plot where they raise Angus cattle, Cheviot sheep, and pure-bred market hogs. They also grow poinsettias in their greenhouse.
“Agriscience education curriculum in Delaware is very progressive and incorporates lessons on new technology being used in the agriculture industry and the careers within the agriculture industry that are not directly linked to production agriculture,” Gill said. “Delaware Agriscience Educators showcase all career opportunities that are linked to the agriculture industry within their curriculum to help attract a diverse student body to agriscience education courses and the FFA.”
Quick Facts on Delaware FFA:
- 40 chapters: 27 high school chapters and 13 middle school chapters.
- 4,000+ members
- 540+ alumni members
- 1930- Delaware FFA Association was chartered
- David Townsend is the fourth National Officer from Delaware and the first National FFA President.
- Past National Officers from Delaware include Charles Postles (Eastern Region Vice President, 1969-1970),Pennewill Isaacs (Secretary, 1941-1942), and John W. Webb, Jr. (Eastern Region Vice President, 1947-1948).