National FFA Organization
|Motto||Learning to Do,
Doing to Learn,
Earning to Live,
Living to Serve
|Legal status||Intra-Curricular Non-profit organization|
|Purpose||To make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.|
|Region served||United States|
|Membership||557,318 (7,498 Chapters)|
|National Advisor||Steve Brown|
|Affiliations||Future Farmers of America|
The National FFA Organization is an American youth organization, specifically a career and technical student organization, based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education. 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 579,678 members in 7,570 chapters  throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. FFA is the largest of the career and technical student organizations in U.S. schools.
- 1 Overview
- 2 FFA structure
- 3 Officers of FFA
- 4 Official FFA dress
- 5 Traditions
- 6 The FFA Creed
- 7 Career Development Events
- 8 Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs
- 9 Notable alumni
- 10 Notable historic events and milestones
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The National FFA organization is a youth leadership organization that strives to make a positive difference in the lives of young people by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education.
FFA functions within the three-circle model of agricultural education as a student leadership organization that complements a student's classroom/laboratory instruction and supervised agricultural experience program. FFA members can compete in Career Development Events (CDE) that cover job skills in everything from communications to mechanics. Some events allow students to compete as individuals, while others allow them to compete in teams.
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.
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 exist as well.
Most states hold FFA conventions at least once annually, where members gather to compete, be recognized for awards, attend leadership workshops, debate organizational issues in a delegate process, and more. Nationally, the National FFA Convention & Expo is held once a year in the fall, and was originally held in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1928–1998. The convention moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1999 before moving again in 2006 to Indianapolis, Indiana. The 86th National FFA Convention & Expo took place once again in Louisville, Kentucky in October 2013.
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, to make sure the door is open to all and keep the room comfortable as well as assisting in maintaining order.
- Advisor — Stationed by the owl, the time honoured emblem of knowledge and wisdom
Others may include
- Parliamentarian —Stationed by a copy of Robert's Rules of Order 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 Region 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 national blue corduroy FFA jacket that is worn by current FFA members. The back of the jacket features a large FFA emblem just underneath the name of each FFA member's state. The name of the local FFA chapter, district, region or area is embroidered below the emblem. The front of the FFA jacket features a smaller FFA emblem on the left chest and the FFA member's name and sometimes, if applicable, office and year on the right chest. FFA members are required to wear the FFA jacket as part of official dress while participating in all official organization activities.
Originally created to be worn by the Fredericktown Band of the Fredericktown FFA Chapter by Dr. Gus Lintner, the FFA Jacket was adopted in 1933.
The color of the jacket’s corduroy has ranged from shades of blue to shades of purple through the years. In 2004, the National FFA Organization worked with a supplier in North Carolina to set a new standard for the blue corduroy by using samples from archived FFA jackets. The jacket's color standardization was accompanied by a restoration of the embroidered FFA emblems and fit corrections led by Clemson University's Apparel Research Center. The improved FFA jacket, produced in both Van Wert, Ohio and South Vietnam, was first made available in August 2005. Currently, all lettering, embroidery and finishing of FFA jackets is completed by Universal Lettering Company in Van Wert, Ohio.
Elements of FFA Official Dress
FFA members are required to wear official FFA dress while participating in official organization activities. For females, official dress consists of a black skirt (black slacks may be appropriate for traveling and outdoor activities), a white collared blouse, an official FFA blue scarf, black dress shoes with a closed heel and toe, black nylon hosiery, and an official FFA jacket zipped to the top. Male official dress includes black dress pants, a white dress shirt, an official FFA tie, black dress shoes with a closed heel and toe, black socks and an official FFA jacket zipped to the top.
Awards and Pins
FFA members earn metal pins that signify achievement within the organization. These pins can be placed on the front of the FFA jacket, however, official guidelines state that no more than three pins may be worn at one time. The pins are to be placed beneath the FFA member's name on the right chest and can recognize the highest office, highest award, and highest organizational degree. Two exceptions exist within pin placement guidelines. When an FFA member earns a State FFA Degree or American FFA Degree, the award keys should be worn above the name on right chest or attached to the FFA jacket with a standard key chain, and no other pins should accompany these.
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 FFA Convention. It was revised at the 38th and 63rd National FFA Conventions by the assembled delegate body. It is recited by new members to the organization to reflect their growing belief in agriculture and agricultural education. The FFA Creed 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
- Safe Equipment Operation
- Rangeland Judging
- Agricultural Electricity
- Opening/Closing Ceremonies
- Website Development
- Tractor Operations
- Greenhand CDE
- F.A.R.M education
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, Governor of Kansas, Former U.S. Senator, Past National FFA Vice President
- Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, Past district FFA officer.
- Harold Brubaker, North Carolina state representative
- Bruce Maloch, Arkansas state senator, Past state FFA President and National FFA Secretary
- Matt Lohr, Virginia state representative, Past state FFA President and National FFA Vice President
- Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States
- Trace Adkins, country music singer
- Chris Colfer, actor best known for Glee
- Steve Doocy, network-television personality on the Fox News Channel and a best selling author. Co-host of Fox & Friends in the mornings.
- Matthew Fox, actor best known for Lost and Party of Five
- Don Henley, music entertainer
- Toby Keith, country music singer
- Lyle Lovett, country music singer
- Tim McGraw, country music singer
- Eddie Montgomery, country music singer, half of the duo Montgomery Gentry
- Willie Nelson, country music singer
- Orion Samuelson, radio broadcaster
- Taylor Swift, country music singer
- Josh Shipp, motivational speaker & entertainer
- Jim Ross, WWE Hall of Famer, Former State Vice President
In the arts
- Jim Davis, creator of the Garfield comic strip
- Jared Hess, director of Napoleon Dynamite
- Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize Winner, past Oregon State Officer
- John Mellencamp, recording artist, co-founder of Farm Aid
- Leonard J. Arrington, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Historian. "Dean of Mormon History". Former National FFA Vice President
- Howard Warren Buffett, grandson of famed American investor and philanthropist Warren Edward Buffett. Former FFA chapter president.
- Bo Jackson, American athlete and a former multi-sport professional in American football (NFL) and Baseball (MLB)
- Sterling Marlin, NASCAR driver
- Brad Meester, American football center for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League. Former FFA chapter president.
- Bryant Reeves, retired American professional basketball player for the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies
- Mark Tauscher, American football Offensive Tackle for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.
- Rebecca Podio, Miss Wyoming 2013.
Notable historic events and milestones
- 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
- 1953 Future Farmers of America U.S. postage stamp issued by U.S. Postal Service
- 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.
- 2013 Official FFA Jacket celebrates 80th anniversary.
- "FFA Mission and Motto". National FFA Organization.
- "A Brief History of the National FFA Organization". National FFA Organization. p. 2.
- "National FFA Organization – Who We Are". National FFA Organization.
- "36 USC § 70901 – Organization". Federal Charter; Future Farmers of America is a federally chartered corporation. Legal Information Institute; Cornell Law School.
- "Agricultural Education". National FFA Organization.
- "National FFA Organization – Career Development Events". National FFA Organization.
- "National FFA Convention & Expo". National FFA Organization. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "FFA Official Dress". National FFA Organization.
- Langstaff, Dave. "A Brief History of The FFA Jacket and The People Who Make It". Universal Lettering Company. Retrieved 2010-06-05.
- "FFA Official Dress PDF". National FFA Organization.
- 105th U.S. Congress (August 12, 1998). "Public Law 105-225". National FFA Organization. p. 6.
- "FFA Facts". Code of Ethics, Creed, Emblem, Mission, Motto, Name, Official Colors, Official Dress, Salute. Minnesota FFA Association. Retrieved 2010-06-05.
- "The FFA Creed". National FFA Organization. Retrieved 2010-06-05.
- "FFA Career Development Events (CDE)". National FFA Organization. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- "FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE)". National FFA Organization. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
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