Agricultural Education FFA Logo

Milestones in FFA History

Agricultural Education FFA Logo 

1917 The Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act establishes vocational agriculture courses.
1920 Henry Groseclose, an agricultural education instructor from Blacksburg, Va., organizes the Future Farmers of Virginia for boys in agriculture&;classes. Soon similar groups are established across the country.
1926 New Farmers of America, an organization for African-American boys interested in agriculture, is formed in Virginia. NFA's first national convention would be in 1935.
1926 The American Royal Livestock Show invites vocational agriculture students to participate in National Livestock Judging Contests in Kansas City, Mo.
1928 During the National Livestock Judging Contests, 33 students from 18 states establish The Future Farmers of America to provide leadership training for farm boys. During this first annual convention, Leslie Applegate of Freehold, N.J., is elected president and dues are set at 10 cents annually.
1930 The official creed and colors, national blue and corn gold, are adopted. The creed has been amended three times but still retains its original basic tenants.
1933 Fredericktown, Ohio, FFA members arrive at the national convention in crisp, blue corduroy jackets with the FFA emblem on the back. Official delegates vote to adopt it at the organization's official dress. Members still wear the nationally-recognized jackets today, honoring the tradition and history of the organization.
1933 Members across the country celebrate the first national FFA Day. In 1948 this would be changed to FFA Week and celebrated during George Washington's birthday to recognize his pioneering contributions to American agriculture.
1934 All states except Rhode Island and Alaska have chartered associations. Rhode Island would charter an association in 1950 and Alaska in 1976.
1944 The National FFA Foundation, Inc., is established in Madison, Wis., to raise money for FFA programs and activities from business, industry and foundation sponsors. Today the Foundation raises more than $6 million annually.
1948 FFA members participate in the organization's first international exchange program with the Young Farmers Club of Great Britain. By 1996 the FFA would send more than 350 students to more than 25 countries annually.
1950 The U.S. Congress passes Public Law 81-740, which grants the FFA a Federal Charter and stipulates that a U.S. Department of Education staff member be the national FFA advisor. Today FFA continues to be recognized by Congress as an intracurricular part of the educational program.
1953 FFA celebrates its silver anniversary. President Dwight D. Eisenhower is the first president to address a national FFA convention. Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George Bush and Ronald Reagan would address the FFA in the future. The U.S. Post Office issues a special stamp to commemorate the founding of the FFA.
1959 The FFA center is established in Alexandria, Va., on land which was part of George Washington's estate. The FFA had owned the land since 1939 and used it for national camps. During the dedication, members participating in the first National Leadership Conference for State Officers place a shovel full of dirt from each state around the flagpole in front of the building.
1965 The New Farmers of America (NFA), the organization for African-American agricultural education students, merges with the FFA, adding 50,000 members.
1966 The FFA National Agricultural Career Show, a trade show especially for students, exposes national convention attendees to educational and career opportunities in agriculture. By 1995 more than 300 exhibitors would participate.
1969 Girls are admitted membership in the FFA. Today more than one-fourth of FFA membership is female.
1971 The National FFA Alumni Association is founded, providing opportunities for former FFA members and other supporters to become involved with their local student chapters. Today the Alumni Association has 38,000 members.
1988 Delegates to the national FFA convention change "Future Farmers of America" to the "National FFA Organization" to recognize the growth of agriculture and agricultural education to encompass the business, science and technology of agriculture in addition to farming. Delegates also opened FFA membership to middle school students.
1991 The Virgin Islands and Guam are granted association charters and five chapters from Micronesia are granted affiliate chapter charters.
1994 Corey Flournoy of Chicago is elected national FFA president, becoming the organization's first African-American and first urban student leader.
1995 The 68th National FFA Convention sets an attendance record, drawing 37,200 members, guests and supporters to Kansas City to recognize members' accomplishments, participate in workshops, hear motivational speakers and visit a 300-exhibitor Career Show.
1996 FFA continues to expand opportunities for agricultural career preparation by introducing 11 new proficiency areas, bringing to 40 the number of agricultural subject areas available to members. Programs range from agricultural communications and agricultural sales and service to feed grain production to natural resources management and emerging agricultural technologies. The first proficiency program, Agricultural Mechanics, was introduced in 1944.
1998 Dedication of new National FFA Center in Indianpolis, Indiana.
1999 72nd National Convention held in Louisville, Kentucky.
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