Agriculture is obviously a vital part of our economy. After all, we rely on farmers (and the overall industry) to provide us with food and to help maintain our natural resources. If your curiosity is at all piqued by pursuing a career within agriculture, then it might behoove you to look into joining the National FFA Organization.
Formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization is committed to helping students learn not just about farming, but the agriculture industry at large. FFA encourages individuals to explore the science, business and technology behind plant and animal production as well as environmental and natural resource systems. And with nearly 630,000 members across all 50 states (as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), it’s clear they’ve reached a large number of young people.
To get students excited about agriculture and to help them strengthen their leadership skills, FFA sponsors a number of amazing opportunities. For starters, the organization hosts multiple career development events throughout the year. Members can participate in hands-on work experiences with everything ranging from turf grass management and forestry to poultry evaluation and cattle handling. Moreover, students can also attend numerous conferences to further enhance their knowledge and learn about developing action plans for their local FFA chapters.
Additionally, similar to many career oriented clubs/non-profits, FFA also provides some generous scholarships to members. Indeed, last year alone, it awarded $2.7 million to students. The scholarships are sponsored by both businesses and individuals through the National FFA Foundation. And money is allocated for both higher education as well as career plans/goals. When selecting recipients, the FFA considers academic achievement, leadership skills, FFA involvement, work experience, the Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) and community service.
To become a member of FFA, you do need to be enrolled in an agricultural course at your high school. Meet with your guidance counselor or an agriculture teacher to discuss your options. If your school does not offer the necessary programs, you can discuss creating one with the appropriate administrator. Conversely, you may investigate joining a chapter at a neighboring school district.
Finally, it’s also important to note that there is a membership fee involved. Fortunately, it’s nominal; the national dues are $7.00/member. However, state and/or local chapters may charge an additional fee.
If you’re passionate (or even remotely curious) about agriculture, then we strongly urge you to join FFA. As a member, you’ll truly get to delve deeply into the subject matter and gain a greater understanding of the possible career paths you could potentially pursue. It’s sure to help shape your future, even if you ultimately decide not to work directly in/with agriculture.
To learn more about the National FFA Organization, visit its website: https://www.ffa.org/home.