Key Moments in FFA History

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.
            The convention is still held in Kansas City today.
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
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
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
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
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
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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