The National FFA Organization was organized as the “Future Farmers of America” in 1928 and was granted a federal charter in 1950, “making it an integral, intracurricular part of public agricultural instruction under the National Vocational Education Acts.” Two of three top executives in the organization are United States Department of Education employees. Initially dedicated to promoting farming education to the nation’s young people, the organization today is active in supporting a wide range of agricultural disciplines and careers.
With over 7,000 individual chapters throughout the United States, FFA counts nearly half a million members. If operates through a hierarchy of national, state and local chapters which remain in close contact with state departments of education. The organization promotes classroom learning in agricultural topics such as plant and animal sciences, horticulture, forestry, agri-business, and other areas, which are combined with hands-on supervised agricultural career experience, in addition to the variety of financial, community and communications programs it offers its members. The focus is on “learning by doing,” combining academic study with fieldwork and hands-on agricultural business and management activities. Ideally, these programs are well integrated within the communities they serve.
The FFA describes its motto as “twelve short words to live by as they experience the opportunities in the organization. Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” It’s stated purpose is to:
- Develop competent and assertive agricultural leadership.
- Increase awareness of the global and technological importance of agriculture and its contribution to our well-being.
- Strengthen the confidence of agriculture students in themselves and their work.
- Promote the intelligent choice and establishment of an agricultural career.
- Encourage achievement in supervised agricultural experience programs.
- Encourage wise management of economic, environmental and human resources of the community.
- Develop interpersonal skills in teamwork, communications, human relations and social interaction.
- Build character and promotes citizenship, volunteerism and patriotism.
- Promote cooperation and cooperative attitudes among all people.
- Promote healthy lifestyles.
- Encourage excellence in scholarship.