Celebrating Traditions: 2022 National FFA Week
Feb 21, 2022
By: Elizabeth Butcher, Marketing Communications Specialist
This week is National FFA Week! It is a time to celebrate and highlight FFA traditions. For the past 94 years, FFA has promoted agriculture through leadership, service, and career development. Their work has created leaders across the country who are excited about agriculture. As a company with many FFA alumni in our family of employees, Superior Ag is a passionate supporter of the FFA organization.
The creation of FFA dates back to 1917, when there was a need for agricultural education. The Smith-Hughes Act provided just that; formal legislation that allowed pre-collegiate vocational education in agricultural and industrial trades. High schools across the country could now educate youth about agriculture and future industry careers. This led to the formation of the Future Farmers of Virginia, which, served as the foundation for the creation of FFA in 1928.
National FFA Week was established in 1947 in honor of President George Washington’s birthday. Washington passed away before FFA was formed, but he was very passionate about agriculture, and was known to be a diligent and exemplary farmer and agriculturist. Because of that, when Henry C. Groseclose wrote the original constitution for the Future Farmers of Virginia — the predecessor to today’s FFA — he pointed to the leadership that both Washington and Thomas Jefferson exemplified through “scientific knowledge, intelligence and enthusiasm” as key tenets of the organization.
FFA has adopted leadership opportunities over the years. And in recent years, adding programs to appeal to urban students has expanded the current FFA membership to over 735,000 youth. FFA is not just for farmers, it is about practicing the motto. “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve" (FFA.org).
A few of the leadership opportunities are Career Development Events (CDEs), Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAEs), Leadership Development Events (LDEs). Chapters use these avenues to practice real world scenarios such as demonstrations, judging, speeches, and record keeping to name a few. Individuals who compete in these contests solidify skills that are beneficial to them later in life.
As a four-year high school FFA member, I held local chapter and district offices. I also received the American FFA Degree after high school graduation. I competed in the Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Demonstration CDE. My demonstration was How to Uninstall and Reinstall a Bar and Chain on a Chainsaw. I practiced and prepared for countless hours for the District X Contest that was held each spring. My first year was a learning experience, but I used advice from the judges and continued to practice. The following year I elevated my demonstration by adding a PowerPoint and refining my technique. My hard work paid off and I placed first! Through this experience, I learned that it is important to take feedback and use it to motivate myself.
So far, the FFA organization has developed more than eight million alumni and continues to encourage youth to develop a passion for agriculture. Local chapters work diligently to plan activities, compete, and create awareness for agriculture. Preparing the next generation for leadership roles, FFA provides young people with a strong foundation for their future.
Superior Ag is grateful for the leaders in our family of employees, and the important work being done by FFA chapters across the country. We look forward to celebrating the tradition of National FFA Week and highlighting the accomplishments that FFA has achieved.