“Just know you’re not alone/’Cause I’m going to make this place your home.” Some of you may recognize these lyrics as part of the song “Home” by Phillip Phillips. While these words are part of a famous song, I believe that this phrase also epitomizes the experiences of FFA members all across our nation, from the state of Alaska to the Virgin Islands, and from the state of Maine to Hawaii.
Whether you come from a rural background on a Wisconsin dairy farm or got your start in FFA through urban agriculture working in a greenhouse and raising fish through aquaponics, the FFA organization has a multi-faceted approach to helping every member find their niche within agriculture, and possibly find a calling for their future.
This year, the National FFA Organization, as well as the 21,185 members of the Wisconsin Association of FFA, are celebrating many important milestones that focus on the progress we have made as an organization to promote inclusivity and help every member find their own rightful place, or home, in the FFA.
The National FFA Organization, formerly known as The Future Farmers of America, was established in 1928 by a group of traditional young male farmers during the American Royal Livestock Show held in Kansas City, Mo. Move forward seven years to 1935, and The New Farmers of America began as an organization for African-American farm youth. It was in 1965 that The Future Farmers of America and The New Farmers of America merged to be known simply as the FFA organization, boosting an all-inclusive mentality of its members from different backgrounds and appearances.
This year, in 2019, we are celebrating the 50-year anniversary of women being allowed to join FFA in 1969, and just last year, in 2018, we commemorated 30 years of middle school FFA members being formally admitted into the organization.
With all of these historical milestones being recognized and celebrated, it is truly astounding to see the journey that the FFA organization has taken to promote inclusivity for its members and to open opportunities to individuals of all backgrounds, beliefs and experiences.
In recognition of these important milestones, National FFA Week is taking place this year Feb. 16-23. FFA chapters around the country will celebrate National FFA Week, as it is a time to share what FFA is and the impact it has on members every day as they find their place in the world, whether that be directly involved with agriculture or not.
My fellow state officers and I will be traveling around the state attending events to promote National FFA Week and to see the amazing things Wisconsin FFA members are accomplishing. Be sure to keep up-to-date with all things FFA by following Wisconsin Association of FFA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and by reading the state officer travel blogs on wisconsinffa.org.
Whether you are a student, adviser or alumni member, FFA has a place for you. With the National FFA Organization’s current membership at 669,989 members and growing every year, you are not alone. Take advantage of all opportunities that this incredible organization has to offer, and always remember that you have the power to make the FFA your home.