Jump to content

National FFA Organization

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National FFA Organization
Formation1928; 96 years ago (1928)
TypeYouth organization
Legal status501(c)(3) non-profit organization[1]
Region served
 United States
 Puerto Rico
 United States Virgin Islands
945,988 (9,163 chapters in 50 state associations and 2 territories)
Dr. Travis Park [3]
Scott Stump[4]
Amara Jackson[5]
  • Dr. Travis Park -Chair and National Advisor
  • Matt Winkle -National FFA Treasurer
  • Ben Lastly -Executive Secretary, Southern Region (NASAE)
  • Brandon Davis -State Supervisor, Eastern Region (NASAE)
  • Charles Parker -State Supervisor, Western Region (NASAE)
  • Matthew (Matt) Eddy -State Supervisor, Central Region (NASAE)
  • Deanna Thies -AFNR Teacher (NAAE)
  • Dave Gossman -AFNR Teacher (NAAE)
  • Eric Rubenstein -Teacher Educator (AAAE)
  • Jessica M. Blythe -Teacher Educator (AAAE)
  • Barbara Jenkins -Business and Industry, U.S. Poultry
  • Daphnne Bonaparte -U.S. Department of Education [6]
Formerly called
Future Farmers of Virginia [7]
National FFA Organization
 Scouting portal

The National FFA Organization, often referred to simply as FFA, is an American non-profit career and technical student organization, which offers middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education. FFA was founded in 1925 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, by agriculture teachers Henry C. Groseclose,[9] Walter Newman, Edmund Magill, and Harry Sanders as Future Farmers of Virginia. In 1928, it became a nationwide organization known as Future Farmers of America.

In 1988, the name was changed to the National FFA Organization, now commonly referred to as FFA, to recognize that the organization is for students with diverse interests in the food, fiber, and natural resource industries, encompassing science, business, and technology in addition to production agriculture.[10] FFA is among the largest youth organizations in the United States, with 945,988 members in 9,163 chapters[11] 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.

The organization holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.[12]


The National FFA Organization is a youth leadership organization that claims 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. The FFA Motto is Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15] These competitions can happen at a local or district level, state level, and on the national level.[citation needed]

Students are supervised by agricultural education teachers that have to cooperate with parents, employers, and other adults who assist individuals in the development and achievement of educational and career goals.[citation needed]

The official colors of FFA are national blue and corn gold.[16]

Supervised Agricultural Experience programs[edit]

To be an active member in the National FFA Organization, a member must have a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project.[17] 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 areas:

  • Foundational – 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/Internship – working either for pay or experience in an agricultural setting[citation needed]

Official FFA dress[edit]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Iowa FFA students in 2019
Odessa Oldham, of Casper College in Wyoming, explained her role in the National FFA Organization to the United States Department of Agriculture, as part of its Native American Indian Heritage Month celebration in Washington D.C., in November 2011.

FFA jacket[edit]

The most recognizable symbol of the organization is the blue corduroy jacket that is worn by FFA members. The back of the jacket features a large FFA emblem underneath the name of the 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. Members may also wear award pins or officer pins under their names. FFA members are required to wear the jacket as part of the official dress while participating in all official organization activities.[18]

The FFA jacket was created to be worn by the Fredericktown Band of the Fredericktown FFA Chapter by Dr. Gus Lintner.[19] It 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.[20]

Elements of FFA official dress[edit]

FFA members are required to wear official FFA dress while participating in official organization activities. The National FFA Organization recently[when?] updated its bylaws, stating that members may wear any item they are comfortable in, including those which were previously reserved for only one gender. Religious garb, such as headwear, is also allowed.[citation needed]

Official dress consists of black slacks or a black skirt, a white button-up shirt with collar, an official FFA blue scarf or tie, black dress shoes with closed heel and toe, black socks or nylon hosiery, and an official FFA jacket zipped to the top.[18]

Awards and pins[edit]

FFA members earn metal pins that signify achievement within the organization. These pins can be placed on the front of the FFA jacket;[18] 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 degree, highest office, and/or highest award in that order from left to right. 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 the right chest or attached to the FFA jacket with a standard key chain, and no other pins should accompany these.[18]


Former FFA emblem in use until February 2015.

FFA has many traditions and trademarks identifying it as an agricultural education organization:[21]

The FFA Motto: Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.[22]

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.[21]

The Official FFA Colors: National Blue and Corn Gold (worn on the Official FFA jackets).[23]

The FFA Emblem: Cross section of the ear of corn: represents unity. Wherever you live in the United States, corn is grown everywhere. Rising Sun: signifies progress. It represents that tomorrow will always bring a new day. Plow: signifies labor and tillage of the soil. It also shows the historic foundation of our country's strength. Eagle: symbolizes freedom and our ability to explore the new agriculture world. Owl: represents knowledge. Long recognized for wisdom and knowledge. Agriculture Education and FFA: symbolizes the combination of learning and leadership.[citation needed]

The FFA Creed: The creed was written by Erwin Milton "E.M." Tiffany of Lyndon, Kansas[24] and adopted at the 3rd National FFA Convention.[24] 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 agriculturists 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.



United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (third from right) stands with five former National FFA officers in 2011.

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, sub districts, sections, regions, areas, and federations.[citation needed]

FFA was created to serve high school students and has moved into middle schools where membership may begin as early as age 12, allowing members to become active earlier and stay active longer. Each chapter is chartered as part of the state association and national organization. Collegiate chapters exist as well.[citation needed]

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. It was held in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1928 to 1998. The convention moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1999 before moving again in 2006 to Indianapolis, Indiana. Louisville again hosted the national convention from 2013 to 2015. FFA announced in July 2015 that the national convention would be hosted in Indianapolis each year from 2016 to 2024.[26] In 2018, FFA announced that the national convention would be hosted in Indianapolis each year from 2025 to 2031. In 2023 FFA announced an extension of the Indianapolis contract. The National Convention is now set to be held in Indianapolis until 2033[27]

Officers of FFA[edit]

As FFA is a student-led organization intended to serve youth around the nation, it elects officers from its own diverse membership to certain levels of FFA. With these basic constitutional officers a basis of parliamentary procedure is completed during meetings and banquets; each officer during these procedures will stand and recite their office level and what it is stationed by, and why the particular position is stationed as so. Typical officer roles are:

Constitutional officers[edit]

  • President — Stationed by the rising sun, a token of a new era in agriculture; presides over meetings
  • Vice President — Stationed by the plow, the symbol of labor and tillage of the soil; presides over meetings in the absence of the president
  • Secretary — Stationed by the ear of corn, to keep a record of all meetings and correspond with other secretaries wherever corn is grown and FFA(Future Farmers of America) members meet
  • Treasurer — Stationed by the emblem of George Washington, to keep an accurate account of receipts and disbursements just as Washington kept his farm accounts, carefully and accurately
  • Reporter — Stationed by the flag, strives to inform the public in order that every man, woman, and child may know that FFA is a national organization that reaches from the state of Alaska to the Virgin Islands and from the state of Maine to Hawaii
  • Sentinel — Stationed by the door, the sentinel ensures the door is open to all, cares for the meeting room and paraphernalia, strives to keep the meeting room comfortable as well as assists the president in maintaining order[citation needed]

Others may include[edit]

  • Chaplain — Stationed by the white dove or Bible. The Chaplain presides over prayers and invocations at events.
  • Parliamentarian — Stationed by the Fasces or a copy of Robert's Rules of Order. Parliamentarian's ensure parliamentary procedure is always followed.
  • Historian — Stationed at the scroll or chapter scrapbook. Historians maintain the chapter scrap book and keep records of past events. They may also work closely with the chapter Reporter.
  • Student Advisor — Stationed by the owl or the key. Student advisors take some of the roles of the advisor. Assisting where ever needed. A student advisor may also perform the duties of an officer in their absence (minus president and Vice President)
  • Executive Committee/Executive Board

Each officer is an agriculture student and holds responsibilities needed to serve. Officers are elected each year by members at the respective level.[citation needed]

National officers[edit]

At the national level, the organization has student-held positions of president, secretary, and vice president for each of the four administrative regions (Eastern, Southern, Central, and Western).[28]

Notable historic events and milestones[edit]

Commemorative Future Farmers of America stamp issued in 1953
Commemorative 25th anniversary Future Farmers of America postage stamp issued on October 13, 1953
  • 1928: FFA is established.
  • 1929: National Blue and Corn Gold are adopted as official colors.
  • 1930: Official FFA creed adopted.
  • 1944: FFA Foundation formed.
  • 1950: Congress grants FFA a Federal Charter, recognizing the importance of FFA as an integral component of School-Based Agricultural Education.
  • 1953: FFA U.S. postage stamp issued by U.S. Postal Service.
  • 1965: FFA was desegregated; FFA absorbed the New Farmers of America organization for students of color.
  • 1969: FFA membership becomes available to female students.
  • 1988: Official Name change from Future Farmers of America to National FFA Organization.
  • 2006: National FFA Foundation receives first $1 million contribution from Ford Motor Company.
  • 2010: FFA members earn a record 3,449 American FFA Degrees.
  • 2011: National FFA Alumni Association celebrates its 40-year anniversary.
  • 2015: National FFA celebrates 50 years of desegregation following the merger of FFA and NFA.
  • 2017: National FFA elects first female African-American National President, Ms. Breanna Holbert from the State of California.
  • 2019: FFA celebrates 50 years of female leaders in the organization.[citation needed]

Career & Leadership Development Events[edit]

FFA Career and Leadership Development Events (CDE/LDEs) are competitions that members compete in to test their skills learned through agricultural education instruction. They vary at the different levels of FFA, and some are contested only at certain levels or in specific states, districts, areas, or regions.[29]

At the national level, there are 25 Career and Leadership Development Events offered:[29]

  • Agricultural Communications
  • Agricultural Issues Forum
  • Agricultural Sales
  • Agricultural Technology & Mechanical System
  • Agronomy
  • Conduct of Chapter Meetings
  • Creed Speaking
  • Dairy Cattle Evaluation & Management
  • Employment Skills
  • Environmental & Natural Resources
  • Extemporaneous Public Speaking
  • Farm & Agribusiness Management
  • Floriculture
  • Food Science & Technology
  • Forestry
  • Horse Evaluation
  • Livestock Evaluation
  • Marketing Plan
  • Meats Evaluation & Technology
  • Milk Quality & Products
  • Nursery/Landscape
  • Parliamentary Procedure
  • Poultry Evaluation
  • Prepared Public Speaking
  • Veterinary Science

Examples of CDE/LDEs offered in some states but not at the national level include:[citation needed]

  • Agricultural Mechanics Skills
  • Cattle Evaluation
  • Creed Speaking
  • Horse Evaluation
  • Livestock Evaluation
  • Tractor driving
  • Parli law
  • Range Judging[30]
  • Vet Science

Talent Competition, Band, and Chorus[edit]

In addition to the various Career and Leadership Development Events, the organization also hosts a national band and chorus alongside a talent competition. Although not officially recognized until the 20th National FFA Convention, concert bands have been present in the FFA since 1933.[31] The debut of the National FFA Chorus and Talent was in 1948 at the 20th National FFA Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.[32] Since then, members of the talent competition chorus, and band have provided entertainment at each National FFA Convention during the sessions. Members of the talent competition must apply and audition directly in the case that their state does not host a competition. In this instance, they must win their own state competition to qualify.[33] Similarly, members seeking to be in the national band and chorus must apply to participate.

Notable alumni[edit]

In politics[edit]

  • Sam Brownback, United States Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, former Governor of Kansas, former United States Senator, former United States representative, past state FFA President and national FFA vice president
  • Harold Brubaker, North Carolina state representative, past National FFA Secretary from Pennsylvania
  • Jimmy Carter, Governor of Georgia, 39th President of the United States
  • Matt Lohr, Chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, former Virginia state representative, past state FFA President and National FFA Vice President
  • Bruce Maloch, Arkansas state senator, past state FFA President and National FFA Secretary
  • Jeff Miller, United States Representative from Florida, past state FFA Secretary
  • Rick Perry, former United States Secretary of Energy, former Governor of Texas, past district FFA officer
  • Jason Smith, United States Representative from Missouri
  • Joe Wright, Kentucky State Senate majority floor leader from 1981 to 1992 and founding member of the Kentucky FFA Foundation

In entertainment[edit]

In the arts[edit]



  1. ^ "Future Farmers of America State Associations & Local Chapter". Exempt Organizations Select Check. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Future Farmers of America. Guidestar. December 31, 2015.
  3. ^ "Our Leadership". National FFA Organization. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  4. ^ "NATIONAL FFA ORGANIZATION PICKS NEW CEO". Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  5. ^ "[1]". National FFA Organization. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  6. ^ "National FFA Board of Directors". Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  7. ^ "Who We Are". April 3, 1917. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  8. ^ "Our Leadership". National FFA Organization. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Future Farmers to Meet Aug. 6–9: 1,000 Young Virginians Will Compete for Honors at Blacksburg". The Washington Post. 3 August 1929. p. 18.
  10. ^ "FFA History". National FFA Organization. April 3, 1917. p. 2.
  11. ^ "Statistics". National FFA Organization.
  12. ^ "36 USC § 70901 – Organization". Federal Charter; Future Farmers of America is a federally chartered corporation. Legal Information Institute; Cornell Law School.
  13. ^ "FFA.org". National FFA Organization. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  14. ^ "School-Based Agricultural Education" (PDF). National FFA Organization.
  15. ^ "Career Development Events". National FFA Organization.
  16. ^ "National FFA Organization – Home". www.ffa.org. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  17. ^ "FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE)". National FFA Organization. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
  18. ^ a b c d "FFA Official Dress". National FFA Organization. January 15, 2015.
  19. ^ Langstaff, Dave. "A Brief History of The FFA Jacket and The People Who Make It". Universal Lettering Company. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  20. ^ "FFA Official Dress PDF" (PDF). National FFA Organization.
  21. ^ a b 105th U.S. Congress (August 12, 1998). "Public Law 105-225" (PDF). National FFA Organization. p. 6.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ FFA. "FFA Mission and Motto". National FFA Organization. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  23. ^ "FFA Facts". Code of Ethics, Creed, Emblem, Mission, Motto, Name, Official Colors, Official Dress, Salute. Minnesota FFA Association. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  24. ^ a b "The FFA Creed". National FFA Organization. Retrieved June 5, 2010. It was written in 1928
  25. ^ FFA. "FFA Creed". National FFA Organization. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  26. ^ "National FFA Organization Announces National Convention and Expo Coming to Indianapolis 2016–2024". National FFA Organization. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  27. ^ "Indianapolis wins bid to host FFA convention through 2031". Indianapolis Business Journal. December 11, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  28. ^ FFA. "National FFA Officers". National FFA Organization. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  29. ^ a b "FFA Career Development Events (CDE)". National FFA Organization. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
  30. ^ "Range-Judging". ND FFA Association. Retrieved March 15, 2024.
  31. ^ "FFA Moment: 1947". National FFA Organization. August 8, 2022. Retrieved March 15, 2024.
  32. ^ Meyer, Anna-Cater (November 2, 2023). "Celebrating 75 Years of the FFA Chorus". National FFA Organization. Retrieved March 15, 2024.
  33. ^ "FFA Moment: 1948 National FFA Chorus and Talent Debut". National FFA Organization. August 4, 2023. Retrieved March 15, 2024.

External links[edit]