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The National FFA Organization is an American youth organization known as a Career and Technical Student Organization, based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education. The organization, founded in 1928 as Future Farmers of America, now states it has over 507,763 members in 7,439 chapters throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islandsmarker. In 1988 the name of the organization was changed to the National FFA Organization to reflect the expanding career field of Agricultural Education .

The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.

About FFA

FFA used to be an acronym for Future Farmers of America. High school and Middle school students compete in various events called Career Development Events (CDEs). Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs, and Leadership Development Events (LDEs) are programs designed to broaden the students abilities and experience in different fields of agriculture. Students are supervised by agricultural education teachers in cooperation with parents, employers and other adults who assist individuals in the development and achievement of educational and career goals. In 1988 the Future Farmers of America changed its name to simply the National FFA Organization to encompass the growing diversity of Agriculture. Today the FFA has over 500,000 members across the nation. These students strive for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

FFA Structure

The FFA is represented at several different levels across the nation, changing from state to state. The basic levels are the national level, serving all of the United States of America; the state level, serving an individual state association; and the chapter level, serving a school or set of schools in an area. Other levels include districts, sections, regions,areas, etc.

Originally created to serve high school students, the FFA has recently moved into elementaries, 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.

The higher levels of FFA hold conventions at least once annually, where members get together to be inspired, renew their faith in agriculture, compete in CDE's, and much more. The National FFA Convention is held once a year in October, and was originally held in Kansas City, Missourimarker, but moved to Louisville, Kentuckymarker, for seven years, and is currently held at the Indiana Convention Centermarker in Indianapolis, Indianamarker, from 2006 to 2012.

Degrees

Many levels of the FFA can award degrees of membership to that level, signifying an individual member's accomplishments. The recognized Degrees of Membership are:
  • Discovery FFA Degree, awarded to Middle School students with an understanding of FFA knowledge.
  • Greenhand FFA Degree, awarded to new high school FFA members who can recite the FFA Creed and have formed an SAE plan.
  • Chapter FFA Degree (formerly Chapter Farmer), awarded by each Chapter on the basis of hours worked and/or money earned in an SAE.
  • State FFA Degree (formerly State Farmer or Planter), awarded by each state based on hours worked and/or money earned in an SAE. This is the highest degree that a member may attain at a state level.
  • American FFA Degree (formerly American Farmer), awarded by the National FFA Organization, and the highest degree that a member may attain. Also has a region for each state.


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:

Constitutional Officers

  • President — Stationed by the Rising Sun.
  • Vice President — Stationed by the plow
  • Secretary — Stationed by the ear of corn.
  • Treasurer —Stationed by emblem of Washington.
  • Reporter — Stationed by the flag.
  • Sentinel — Stationed by the door.


Others May include

  • Parliamentarian —Stationed by a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order.
  • 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.

National Officers

  • President
  • Secretary
  • 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 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:

Males
  • Black slacks with black belt
  • White collared button-up shirt (tucked in)
  • Official FFA tie
  • Black dress shoes
  • Black socks
  • Official FFA jacket, zipped to the top with zipper tucked in


Females
  • Black knee length skirt
  • White collared button-down blouse (tucked in)
  • Official FFA blue scarf
  • Plain black heels
  • Official FFA jacket zipped to the top with zipper tucked in
  • Black nylon hosiery


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 colorhttp://www.universallettering.com/history.aspx. 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

Traditions

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 can not 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 .

At the National level, there are 23 CDE's :

Others

An example of some CDEs that can available at the sate level are:

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


Prominent former members

In politics



In entertainment



In the arts



Other

  • Kirby Barrick, Dean of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Floridamarker, Past Ohio State President
  • Elizabeth Kinney, former Miss Oklahoma, past Oklahoma State Reporter
  • Tara Connor, American beauty queen and model, who is Miss USA 2006
  • Katie Blair, American beauty queen and model, who is Miss Teen USA 2006
  • Sterling Marlin, NASCAR driver
  • Steve Spurrier, former college and professional football player, and is the current head coach of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team. He was a two-time All-American quarterback, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player. Spurrier is best known for winning the Heisman Trophy in 1966, and for coaching the University of Florida Gators football team to six Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships and a National Championship in 1996.
  • Bo Jackson, American athlete and a former multi-sport professional in American football (NFL) and Baseball (MLB)
  • Bryant Reeves, retired American professional basketball player for the NBA's Vancouver Grizzlies
  • Barrett Ruud, American football linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.
  • Mark Tauscher, American football Offensive Tackle who is a free agent in the National Football League.
  • Jordan Gross, American football offensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League
  • Brad Meester, American football center for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League. Former
FFA chapter president.
  • Jay Cutler, is an American football quarterback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League.
  • Jared Allen, American football defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League.
  • Jeremy Shockey, is an American football tight end for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League.


Mentions in popular culture

  • FFA was featured prominently in one part of the movie Napoleon Dynamite, where Napoleon and his friend Pedro Sanchez were portrayed as FFA members in their FFA jacket (not full "Official Dress") participating and winning medals in various Career Development Events (CDE) including milk tasting in the Dairy Foods CDE and Dairy Cattle Evaluation CDE.


FFA are also featured in the Dixie Chicks' song "Earl had to die" where the two heroes of the story were "active in the FFA".

References

External links




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