In 1925, just prior to the start of the Great Depression a noticeable trend was taking place in America. The male population was choosing to leave their family farms in order to pursue careers outside of farming. As an attempt to counteract this movement, the state of Virginia proposed forming an organization that offered farm boys an opportunity to develop leadership skills, confidence and pride in the fact they were farm boys. When the idea was presented during the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, Missouri in 1928 the Future Farmers of America was born. At that time 33 young students from 18 states elected a president and created the new national emblem taken largely from the Virginia emblem. The following year the color theme of blue – signifying the national color, and golden yellow –representing the color of corn, was adopted. This was followed by the development of the official creed. Soon thereafter the corduroy jacket became a staple in the new dress code.
The FFA Creed
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.
The creed was written by E.M. Tiffany and adopted at the Third National FFA Convention. It was revised at the 38th and 63rd Conventions.
In the earlier days of the Future Farmers of America, women were not permitted in the organization and were not recognized for their roles on the American farm. It was not until 1969 that women gained full membership rights. Today, females make up 45% of the members and hold at least 50% of the leadership roles.
With the original mission being to prepare the future generation for the challenges of feeding a growing population, today Future Farmers of America, now referred to as FFA is an organization geared at making a positive difference in the lives of students grades 7 through college. There are over 7,000 local FFA chapters that focus on personal growth, leadership, and career success through agricultural education. It is slated as the largest career and technical student organization in the United States schools. Growing beyond the original vision of farming, today it encompasses support for natural resources, food, and fiber, along with science and business technologies. Members are encouraged to follow their own passions within the organization whether it is a more traditional route of showing animals at the local fair or competing in parliamentary procedure competitions.
FFA operates on a local, state, and national level. The student-run organizations are headed by chapters under the supervision of the school’s agricultural education instructors. Utah was among one of the first states to participate in the organization forming the Utah FAA in 1928. Idaho followed in 1929 and the Montana FFA chapter was started in 1930. The Wyoming chapter was formed in 1958 and today has more than 2,000 members. The Wyoming FFA State Conference took place in Cheyenne, Wyoming the first week in April 2016. The four-day event included keynote speakers, presentations, awards ceremonies, and the installation of new officers, plus multiple other happenings. The Wyoming FFA Association members are gearing up for the Wyoming State Fair which takes place in August.
FFA members from around the country are brought together at a national level for the National FFA Convention and Expo. The 89th National FFA Convention & Expo will take place Oct. 19 – 22, 2016 in Indianapolis where student members are recognized for success in competitive events that they worked on during the year. It is an opportunity to unite and inspire this group and to celebrate the organization’s achievements.
To learn more visit https://www.ffa.org/about/who-we-are/chapter-locator or https://www.ffa.org/events/convention.