FFA History

By Bella2
  • 1917

    The Smith-Hughes National Vocational Educational Act, (both Senator Hoke Smith and Representative Dudley Hughes were from Georgia) establishes vocational agriculture courses.
  • 1928

    Future Farmers of America is established in Kansas City, Mo.
    First National FFA Convention is held in Kansas City, Mo.: 33 delegates from 18 states are in attendance.
  • 1926

    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.
  • 1925

    Virginia Tech agricultural education teacher educators Henry C. Groseclose, Harry W. Sanders, Walter S. Newman, and Edmund C. Magill organized the Future Farmers of Virginia (FFV) for boys in agriculture classes. The FFV serves as the model for the Future Farmers of America.
  • 1927

    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.
  • 1929

    National blue and corn gold are adopted as official FFA colors.
  • 1930

    Official FFA Creed, written by E.M. Tiffany, is adopted. First Official Dress uniform is adopted: dark blue shirt, blue or white pants, blue cap, and yellow tie.
  • 1931

    The National FFA Radio Program on NBC is launched
  • 1932

    A charter is granted to the Puerto Rico FFA Association.
  • 1933

    Blue corduroy jacket is adopted as an Official Dress.
  • 1935

    NFA is founded as a national organization at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
  • 1937

    During the National FFA Convention, action is taken to establish a national FFA camp and leadership training school in Washington, D.C.
  • 1939

    28.5 acres of land is purchased near Alexandria, VA., for the first FFA-owned national HQ; the land was once part of George Washington´s estate.
  • 1942

    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 Toyko.
  • 1944

    The FFA Foundation is formed in Washington, D.C., to raise money for FFA programs and activities.
  • 1946

    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.
  • 1948

    The first FFA chorus and the National FFA Talent program is held at the National FFA Convention
  • 1949

    The first International Exchange Program for FFA members begins with the Young Farmers Club of Great Britain.
  • 1950

    The 81st U.S. Congress passes a bill that grants a federal charter to the FFA. President Harry S. Truman signs the bill on Aug. 30, and it becomes Public Law 81-740
  • 1952

    The FFA Code of Ethics is adopted. The first issue of the National FFA magazine is published.
  • 1953

    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.
  • 1955

    Photo of American Star Farmer Joe Moore is on the cover of Time Magazine.
  • 1957

    Former President Harry S. Truman speaks during the National FFA Convention.
  • 1958

    The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis presents NFA with a Certificate of Appreciation.
  • 1959

    First National FFA Center is dedicated in Alexandria, Va., on land that was once part of George Washington´s estate. An FFA camp had been located here earlier.
  • 1964

    FFA sells its one-million FFA jacket
  • 1965

    NFA merges with FFA, increasing FFA membership by more the 50,000.
  • 1966

    The first FFA National Agricultural Career Show (now called expo) is held at the National FFA Convention to highlight educational and career opportunities in agriculture.
  • 1967

    Elmer J. Johnson helps develop the FFA archives at the National FFA Center.
  • 1968

    Presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon speaks at the National FFA Convention. Nixon is elected U.S. president the following month.
  • 1969

    FFA opens membership to females, making it possible for them to hold office and participate in competitive events at regional and national levels. Ken Dunagan from Arizona is named the first American Star in Agribusiness. The Washington Conference (now Washington Leadership Conference
  • 1970

    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 Building Our American Communities (BOAC) program begins.
  • 1973

    FFA Official Dress standards are created. National FFA Secretary Fred McClure from Texas is the first African-American elected to a national FFA office.
  • 1974

    President Gerald Ford speaks at the National FFA Convention. The speech is carried live on network television.
  • 1975

    Food for America program launches. Jimmy Carter, former Georgia governor and a former member of the Plains (Ga.) FFA Chapter speaks at the National FFA Convention. Carter was elected U.S. president the following year. The first FFA Student Handbook is published.
  • 1976

    Julie Smiley from Washington is elected national FFA vice president and is the first female to hold a national FFA office. Alaska becomes the last of the 50 states to obtain a national charter.
  • 1978

    President Jimmy Carter speaks at the 51st National FFA Convention again, this time as a U.S. president. The commemorative marker noting the site of the organization’s founding is unveiled in Kansas City, Mo.
  • 1979

    Christe Peterson from Wisconsin wins the first Extemporaneous Public Speaking Event.
  • 1980

    The National FFA Foundation raises $1 million in one year for the first time.
  • 1982

    Jan Eberly from California becomes the first female national FFA president.
  • 1983

    The Ag Ed Network, the organization’s computerized information service, launches.
  • 1984

    The first FFA TV public service announcements air.
  • 1986

    The first Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award is presented to Steven McKay from Boonville, Calif.
  • 1987

    The first national television satellite broadcast of the National FFA Convention airs. Vice President George H.W. Bush speaks at the National FFA Convention. Bush is elected U.S. president the following year.
  • 1988

    The Future Farmers of America changes its name to the National FFA Organization to reflect the growing diversity in agriculture. Seventh and eighth-grade students are permitted to become FFA members.
  • 1989

    The National Future Farmer magazine changes its name to FFA New Horizons.
  • 1990

    The Partners in Active Learning Support (PALS) program launches. National convention delegates vote to raise the number of official voting delegates to 475 based on proportional representation. Delegates vote “no” to a new FFA Creed during the 63rd National FFA Convention.
  • 1991

    FFA chapters in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam, along with five chapters in Micronesia, are chartered.
  • 1994

    Corey Flournoy from Illinois is the first African-American to be elected national FFA president; he is also the first urban student leader.
  • 1996

    H.O. Sargent Award is reinstated, promoting diversity among chapters. FFA announces its decision to move the National FFA Center from Alexandria, Va., to Indianapolis. FFA announces its decision to move the National FFA Convention from Kansas City, Mo., to Louisville, Ky., in 1999. The official website for FFA, FFA.org, debuts.
  • 1998

    The National FFA Center in Indianapolis is dedicated on July 20. The Agricultural Education National Headquarters is dedicated to Alexandria, Va. The National FFA Convention is held in Kansas City, Mo., for the last time.
  • 1999

    The National FFA Convention is held in Louisville, Ky., for the first time with 46,918 in attendance. Michael Van Winkle from Arkansas wins the first National Creed Speaking event.
  • 2000

    The National FFA Archives at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) opens. Delegates at the National FFA Convention approve the Discovery FFA Degree for middle school students.
  • 2001

    Steven Offer from Wisconsin is named the first American Star in Agriscience. Nicholas Streff from South Dakota is named the first American Star in Agricultural Placement.
  • 2002

    The 75th National FFA Convention is held in Louisville, Ky. To celebrate this special event, the time capsule from the 50th National FFA Convention is opened. Special guest Muhammad Ali is recognized at Reflections to honor the growing diversity of the National FFA Organization.
  • 2003

    Javier Moreno from Puerto Rico is elected national president; he becomes the first person with a native language other than English and the first Puerto Rican elected to this office.
  • 2004

    The first live webcast of the National FFA Convention premieres on FFA.org.
  • 2005

    National FFA launches Seeds of Hope, a fundraising campaign to rebuild Gulf Coast states’ agricultural education and FFA programs following Hurricane Katrina; $835,699 in donations is distributed to affected programs. The National FFA Foundation tops the $10 million mark in raising money in one year for FFA programs and services.
  • 2006

    The 79th National FFA Convention is held in Indianapolis for the first time, with 54,589 in attendance. The National FFA Foundation announces its first $1 million contributions from the Ford Motor Company.
  • 2007

    The FFA Merchandise Center opens in Indianapolis. FFA membership exceeds the half-million mark with 500,823 members in 7,358 chapters. FFA New Horizons adds online feature—FFAnewhorizons.org.
  • 2008

    The FFA member networking site, FFA Nation (now defunct), launches. The FFA board of directors makes the decision to rotate the National FFA Convention between Louisville and Indianapolis, beginning with Louisville in 2013.
  • 2009

    FFA celebrates 40 years of women in the organization.
  • 2010

    Dr. Larry Case retires after 26 years as national FFA advisor. FFA celebrates the 75th anniversary of the founding of NFA. Six college-age FFA members travel to Zambia for the FFA Global Outreach: Africa program.
  • 2011

    The National FFA Alumni Association celebrates its 40th anniversary. FFA celebrates Native Americans in FFA, agriculture and agricultural education during the 84th National FFA Convention. Dr. Steve A. Brown is named national advisor/board chair.
  • 2012

    Patrick Gottsch donates $1 million on behalf of RFD-TV to the National FFA Organization, the single-largest unrestricted donation in the organization’s history. National FFA Foundation receives a record of more than $16.2 million in support of FFA. FFA members and supporters pack 1,005,048 meals during the national convention and expo’s FFA Rally to Fight Hunger.
  • 2013

    Sherene Donaldson is named the first female national FFA executive secretary. Ram Truck’s “So God Made a Farmer” Super Bowl commercial exceeds 18 million views on YouTube; the company donates $1 million to FFA. FFA Today Radio Show debuts on SiriusXM’s RURAL RADIO channel.
  • 2014

    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

    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. Membership in the National FFA Alumni Association reaches 62,705 alumni. The organization’s official website, FFA.org
  • 2016

    National FFA Alumni membership jumps to 225,891 members, up from 62,705 in 2015. FFA, Discovery Education, and AgCareers.com partner to create AgExplorer, a career website to help students explore unique careers in agriculture.
  • 2017

    Convention delegates recommendations to alter Official Dress and the opening ceremony get approval from the National FFA Board of Directors. Breanna Holbert from California is the first African-American female to be elected national FFA president.
  • 2018

    The board of directors votes to rename the National FFA Alumni Association to National FFA Alumni and Supporters and change its bylaws to operational policies. The National FFA Alumni Council becomes the National FFA Alumni and Supporters Advisory Committee. The 91st National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis has a record attendance of 69,944. President Donald Trump speaks at the National FFA Convention & Expo.
  • 2019

    Student membership hits an all-time high with 700,170 members in 8,612 chapters. FFA celebrates the 50th anniversaries of the Washington Leadership Conference and the delegate vote that allowed female membership. The National FFA Foundation celebrates its 75th anniversary.