History About Future Farmers of America
February 15, 2023
1917 - Smith-Hughes Act - The advancement in agricultural education since the Smith – Hughes Act has bettered the quality of life not just for America’s rural and farm families but for everyone across the globe who is fed and clothed by the American Farmer. As with every great journey, it started with that first step. 2017 was the centennial celebration of the Smith – Hughes Act, America’s first step in transforming education.
1925 - Future Farmers of Virginia (FFV) - Virginia Tech agricultural education teacher educators Henry Groseclose, Harry Sanders, Walter S. Newman and Edmund C. Magill organized the Future Farmers of Virginia for boys in agriculture classes. The FFV served as the model for the Future Farmers of America.
1926 - The First National Congress of Vocational Agriculture Students assembles for a National Livestock Judging Contest - The First National Congress of Vocational Agriculture Students assembles for a National Livestock Judging Contest at the American Royal Livestock and Horse Show in Kansas City, Mo.
1927 - H.O. Sargent and G.W. Owens write the first constitution and bylaws for the New Farmers of Virginia - H.O. Sargent, a federal agent for agricultural education for African Americans at the U.S. Office of Education, and G.W. Owens, a teacher-trainer at Virginia State College, write the first constitution and bylaws for the New Farmers of Virginia, an organization for African American agriculture students. The organization holds its first state rally that same year.
1928 - Future Farmers of America is established in Kansas City, Mo. - Future Farmers of America is established in Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 20. First National FFA Convention is held in Kansas City, Mo.: 33 delegates from 18 states are in attendance. Leslie Applegate from New Jersey is elected first national FFA president. First sectional gathering of New Farmers of America (NFA) members is held.
1929 - National blue and corn gold are adopted as official FFA colors - National blue and corn gold are adopted as official FFA colors. Carlton Patton from Arkansas is named the first Star Farmer of America. This is one of the first awards created by FFA, and it was sponsored until 1949 by the Kansas City Star. First National Chapter Contest is launched and sponsored by Farm Journal magazine. At the Second National FFA Convention in November, 33 states are represented by 64 delegates. Thirty-five state associations with approximately 1,500 chapters and 30,000 members are affiliated with the national organization.
1930 - Official FFA CreedOfficial FFA Creed, written by E.M. Tiffany, adopted - Official FFA Creed, written by E.M. Tiffany, is adopted. Edward Drace from Missouri wins the first National Public Speaking event. First Official Dress uniform is adopted: dark blue shirt, blue or white pants, blue cap and yellow tie. Delegates restrict FFA membership to boys only.
1933 - Blue corduroy jacket adopted as Official Dress - Blue corduroy jacket is adopted as Official Dress. A group of FFA officers and members make a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., where they are greeted on the White House lawn by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1935 - New Farmers of America founded in Tuskegee, Al. - NFA is founded as a national organization at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. David Simmons of Alabama is elected as the first national NFA president. Active FFA membership exceeds 100,000 members.
1937 - National FFA Camp and Leadership Training School - During the National FFA Convention, action is taken to establish a national FFA camp and leadership training school in Washington, D.C.
1939 - First FFA-owned National Headquarters - 28.5 acres of land is purchased near Alexandria, Va., for the first FFA-owned national headquarters; the land was once part of George Washington’s estate. Identical twins Albert and Arthur Lacy from Hondo, Texas, become the only members ever to share the title of Star Farmer of America. The H.O. Sargent Trophy Award is created to honor H.O. Sargent’s commitment to helping NFA members achieve success and leadership in agriculture.
1942 - FFA Members Join in The War Effort - FFA members join in the war effort. Three former FFA members—Robert Gray from Texas, Travis Hoover from California and Melvin Jordan from Oklahoma—serve with then Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle and participate in the famous air raid on Tokyo. During World War II, delegates revise FFA membership rules so time served in the armed forces will not count in determining a member’s period of eligibility. During the war years, national conventions are streamlined events, attended only by delegates and award winners. In 1942, just 217 people attend the convention.
1946 - Attendance at the National FFA “Victory Convention” is 12,500 - Attendance at the National FFA “Victory Convention” is 12,500. Those in attendance honor the 260,450 FFA members who served and the 7,188 who paid the supreme sacrifice, losing their lives in the war.
1947- The first National FFA Band performs at the National FFA Convention - National FFA Officers go on the first Goodwill Tour, visiting business and industrial firms and organizations.
1950 - President Harry S. Truman signed the bill, and it became Public Law 81-740 - The 81st U.S. Congress passes a bill that grants a federal charter to Future Farmers of America. President Harry S. Truman signs the bill on Aug. 30, and it becomes Public Law 81-740. The Rhode Island FFA Association, with five chapters and 82 members, is chartered—FFA is in all 48 states, plus then Territory of Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
1952 - The FFA Code of Ethics is adopted. First issue of The National Future Farmer magazine is published.
1953 - The U.S. Post Office Department issued a special stamp to celebrate the 25th anniversary of FFA - The U.S. Post Office Department issues a special 3-cent postage stamp—the cost of mailing a first-class letter then—to celebrate the 25th anniversary of FFA. The first stamps are released in Kansas City, Mo., during the National FFA Convention. President Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks at the National FFA Convention — the first U.S. president to do so — and receives an Honorary American Farmer Degree. FFA membership reaches 363,369 members.
1965 - New Farmers of America (NFA) merges with FFA - Due to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which mandated the end of segregation, NFA merges with FFA, resulting in the end of NFA after 30 years of providing agricultural leadership development for rural Black male youth.
1966 - First FFA National Agricultural Career Show - First FFA National Agricultural Career Show (now called expo) is held at the National FFA Convention to highlight educational and career opportunities in agriculture.
1970 - First Female Delegates - New York’s Anita Decker and New Jersey’s Patricia Krowicki become the first two female delegates to the national convention.
1971 - The National FFA Alumni Association is established - The National FFA Alumni Association is established. The Building Our American Communities (BOAC) program begins.
2014 - Five FFA jackets are donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History - FFA members earn a record 3,765 American FFA Degrees. Five FFA jackets are donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The Give the Gift of Blue Program begins.
2015 - First Lady Michelle Obama gives video greetings to the attendees at the National FFA Convention & Expo - FFA announces the national convention and expo to move to Indianapolis from 2016-24. First Lady Michelle Obama gives video greetings to attendees at the national convention and expo. The organization’s official website, FFA. org, is updated to include a new look, a personalized dashboard, the resource My Journey, the FFA Resume Generator© and the FFA Brand Center. The FFA emblem is also newly refreshed to modernize the FFA brand.
2020 - The 10,000th jacket is gifted through the Give the Gift of Blue program - Student membership hits an all-time high with 760,113 members in 8,739 chapters. The 10,000th jacket is gifted through the Give the Gift of Blue program. The first virtual National FFA Convention & Expo is held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Forever Blue Network is launched. For the first time in 50 years, the Washington Leadership Conference is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.