FFA was established in 1928 as Future Farmers of America. It was renamed the National FFA Organization in 1988 to reflect the rapid changes and greater employment diversity in agriculture. To most of us, it is known simply as FFA.
After more than eight decades, FFA continues to enrich the lives of students by helping them develop their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education.
The FFA motto captures the spirit of the organization succinctly: "Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve."
Those 12 words help explain why this vibrant organization is as important today as it was in a more rural America.
In the 21st century, FFA embraces a lot more than traditional farm life. According to its national website, more than 300 careers are facilitated by FFA - everything from agriscience to biotechnology to turf grass management. The organization now has a membership of 557,318. There are 7,498 chapters. FFA boasts members in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
National FFA Week starts Saturday and runs through Feb. 23.
Those of us who live in rural Iowa need little reminder of the importance of agriculture education and the contributions to our nation made by those who pursue careers in agriculture.
Even so, this is a welcome opportunity to showcase the activities of FFA at the local, state and national levels.