It’s quite a surprise to most to find out that some high schools offer agriculture fanatics support. While it’s not such a common interest, expanding your knowledge and exploring your interests is always a great idea. One example is the FFA, which stands for Future Farmers of America.
FFA is an organization that aims to support and change the lives of those interested in farming and agriculture. Hence, over the years, it has expanded to include programs and classes for students across the country. It aims to prepare its young leaders for growth, success, education, and leadership.
However, FFA doesn’t limit its members to farming. You might find some members ending up as chemists, entrepreneurs, teachers, and part of other organizations. However, how do you join FFA? What is FFA in high school? To answer all your questions, we’ve compiled the ultimate article below.
What Does FFA Stand for in High School?
FFA stands for Future Farmers of America. This humble organization was created in 1928. Later, in 1988, the name was officially changed to National FFA Organization. This significant change meant to portray the growing field and the diversity of agriculture throughout the nation.
But what is FFA in high school? Nowadays, approximately half a million students participate in the comprehensive activities offered through agricultural education. This allows students everywhere to increase their knowledge in the field, explore new areas, and find job opportunities later on.
FFA’s motto is “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.”
One might wonder why the FFA was founded in the first place. It was initially built by a group of farmers who wanted the future generation to be aware and prepared to feed and provide for various people. Some more purposes of the FFA include:
- Increase awareness everywhere on topics such as technological advancements in agriculture
- Learn how to work within a team, communicate, and develop interpersonal skills
- Build character through volunteering and dedication to the country
- Education about what a healthy lifestyle is and encouraging others to follow the path
- Strengthen the confidence a student has in himself through practice, knowledge, and education
What are the Benefits of FFA for High School Students?
Whether you’re confused about joining the FFA in your school or are already in it but unaware of the benefits, we have some good news. While it might not seem that impactful, many research papers have shown the various benefits of FFA in high school.
Through extensive research, the Journal of Agricultural Education has shown that students agree that the FFA works on various aspects of one’s wellbeing. That includes physiological needs, safety, belongings, understanding, and aesthetic needs.
Here are 5 reasons why you should join FFA in high school:
1. Agricultural Knowledge: whether you believe the knowledge is essential or not, some fundamentals are vital. You’ll learn about handling animals, how cotton and silk are made, how to run a tractor, and much more.
2. Work Ethic:as a student in high school, it’s difficult to gain work experience on top of everything else. However, being part of the FFA allows you to be part of projects and learn how to organize, dedicate time, and work hard.
3. Connections For Life: it’s not an exaggeration. Once you’re part of such a big organization and decide to pursue something in agriculture, the FFA will always be willing to extend a helping hand.
4. Confidence: as teenagers in high school, students often struggle with a lack of confidence and trust in themselves. However, hands-on experience and gaining knowledge in such a diverse field allow them to build themselves up and believe in themselves.
5. Healthy Lifestyle: there are numerous fad diets and nutrition tips out there. While some might be insightful, getting down to the nitty-gritty allows you to witness where everything comes from. Moreover, FFA works on teaching its members about food, safety, and environmentally healthy ways of living.
How to Join FFA in High School?
First, it’s not common for students to simply join FFA without any interest in agriculture. Hence, a frequent prerequisite across high schools is being enrolled in an agricultural education program. This allows you to join the FFA as a member.
Hence, most schools do offer some agricultural education for their agriculture students. However, if you are unaware of such programs at your school, follow two steps. First of all, talk to a counselor or an advisor and ask if any courses are available at your high school. If it’s not, you can actually create your very own agricultural education program by starting your own FFA chapter.
Keep in mind that there’s a membership fee for the National FFA Organization. It’s an annual fee of $7, excluding any extra costs from your state or local FFA. Of those $7, $2 contribute to the FFA New Horizons, a national magazine that you’ll automatically be subscribed to.
Who Can Join FFA?
There isn’t an excellent guideline on who can join FFA. However, most FFA members are students spanning the ages of 12-21. Most students start during secondary education, but many join later in life. Moreover, college students are also part of the FFA, so don’t worry about staying part of the organization once you’re off studying for higher education!
When considering joining the FFA, remember that it often comes as a massive benefit to your current and future self. Some fun FFA facts include:
- It’s the largest youth organization in the country.
- Many celebrities and musicians have been included in FFA activities, including Jimmy Carter, Taylor Swift, and Matthew Fox.
- The FFAemblem signifies 5 elements. The ear of corn (unity), rising red sun (progress), blue plow (labor), eagle (freedom), and the owl (knowledge).
What are the Requirements to Join FFA in High School?
To be eligible to be a member of the FFA, you must be part of some agricultural education. This is most likely a demonstration of interest and dedication to the field. However, remember that there might be additional restrictions according to the state you’re living in. Hence, contact your local FFA Association, which you can find here.
However, the fundamental requirements for anyone wanting to join the FFA are as follows:
- Enrolled in some sort of agricultural education within your school
- You must be at least 12 years old
Moreover, you must enroll in a secondary agricultural education program to obtain an active membership and be part of the FFA for an extended period. Many state associations consider this to simply be part of your high school throughout grades 7-12. However, to continuously be an active member, you must:
- Studying at least one agriculture-related course during the school year.
- You must show resilience, dedication, and interest. You can do so by asking questions, being part of activities, going to meetings, and striving for higher positions within the organization.
- Everyone must pay their fees by the deadline determined by the state organization.
- Follow the work ethics and rules put by the FFA.
What are FFA Activities in High School?
You must now be wondering what you do in FFA. Well, the activities seem to be endless. You can do many things inside the high school and other events to participate in outside. However, different activities will be offered according to the school you’re in. Hence, check in with your counselor to find out everything you need. However, some recurring activities include:
When you’re inside the classroom, you’ll be taught various topics that you’ll address. You’ll find that there is an ample amount of science and math education. However, expect a lot of hands-on experience, which allows you to learn visually and physically.
Moreover, you’ll explore more in-depth topics related to agriculture. Some include the future of the field, technology, sustainability, and innovation. You’ll most likely be asked to debate or write essays on such topics.
Fundraising is one of the most critical aspects of the FFA. The whole purpose of such an organization is to encourage more people to educate themselves on the urgency of some matters, including sustainability. Hence, fundraising can help provide the required funds to build on the organization.
Some activities and ideas include fruit sales, banquets, auctions, bake and sales, and selling plants.
Such activities allow students to connect with themselves and others. These often involve some fun and lighthearted activities that are simply meant to act as icebreakers for members of the FFA. You could expect musical nights, dance lessons, movies, football matches, and more.
It’s necessary to stress the importance of community service in agriculture. It allows students to give back to the community while working on themselves, their educations, and their surroundings.
Your state will often organize its own events. However, keep in mind that the activities will vary slightly according to the state you’re currently living in. However, the Miami East FFA association has various activities, some include:
- Ag Career Fair: it allows students to explore different careers in agriculture.
- Ag Day: this activity involves kindergarteners from around the state. It allows them to come in for a day and learn about where their food comes from. It sometimes includes going to the zoo and learning about farm safety and farming.
Wrapping Things Up: What is FFA in High School?
All in all, joining the FFA as an agriculture fanatic is a must. You’ll learn all the minor details and be part of events you won’t otherwise have access to. Moreover, think about the multiple connections you’ll make with others when participating in events and activities. Such associations tend to be life-long ones, where you can always ask other members to help you in times of need.
The bottom line is if you want to learn integrity, time management, dedication, and agricultural knowledge, we urge you to join the FFA.