ffa history

  • 1917

    The Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act (both Smith and Hughes were Georgia
    Congressmen) established vocational agriculture courses.
  • 1925

    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 American Royal Livestock Show invited vocational agriculture students to participate in national
    livestock judging contests in Kansas City, Mo.
  • 1927

    G.W. Owens, teacher-trainer at Virginia State College, and Dr. H.O. Sargent, federal agent for
    agricultural education for African-Americans, U.S. Office of Education, wrote the first constitution and
    bylaws of the New Farmers of Virginia, an organization for African-American agriculture students.
  • 1928

    Future Farmers of America established in Kansas City, Mo.
    • First National FFA Convention held in Kansas City: 33 delegates from 18 states in attendance.
    • Leslie Applegate of New Jersey selected as the first national FFA president.
    • First sectional gathering of New Farmers of America members held.
  • 1929

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

    • Official FFA Creed, written by E.M. Tiffany, adopted.
    • First National Public Speaking event held. Winner: Edward Drace, Missouri.
    • First Official Dress uniform adopted: dark blue shirt, blue or white pants, blue cap and yellow tie.
    • Delegates restricted membership to boys only.
    •First Official FFA Manual printed.
  • 1933

    Blue corduroy jacket adopted as Official Dress.
    • A group of FFA officers and members made a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., where they were
    greeted on the White House lawn by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • 1935

    New Farmers of America founded in Tuskegee, Ala.
    • Active FFA membership exceeded 100,000 members.
  • 1937

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

    28.5 acres of land purchased near Alexandria, Va., for the first FFA-owned national headquarters; the
    land was part of George Washington’s estate.
    • Identical twins Albert and Arthur Lacy of Hondo, Texas, become the only members ever to share the
    title of Star Farmer of America.
    • The “H.O. Sargent Trophy Award” was created to honor H.O. Sargent’s commitment to helping NFA
    members achieve success and leadership in agriculture.
  • 1942

    During World War II, when tens of thousands of FFA members served in the armed services, national
    FFA conventions were streamlined events where only delegates and award winners attend. In 1942, just
    217 people attended the convention.
  • 1944

    Future Farmers of America Foundation formed to raise money from business, industry, government,
    individuals and sponsors for FFA programs and activities.
    • 138,548 FFA members were serving in the Armed Services in World War II.
    • First National FFA Agriculture Proficiency Award presented for Agricultural Mechanics.
  • 1947

    First National FFA Band performed at national FFA convention.
  • 1948

    First FFA Chorus and National FFA Talent program held at national FFA convention.
    • National FFA Supply Service began operation.
    • Record jump in membership from 238,269 in 1947 to 260,300 in 1948; so many members attended
    the 20th National FFA Convention that a folding-cot hotel was set up in the basement of the Municipal
    Auditorium in Kansas City.
    • First FFA Week celebrated during the week of George Washington’s birthday
  • 1949

    First International Exchange Program for FFA members began with Young Farmers Club of Great
  • 1950

    A bill was passed by the 81st Congress of the United States that granted FFA a federal charter and
    specified that a U.S. Department of Education staff member be the national FFA advisor. On Aug. 30,
    President Harry S. Truman signed the bill, and it became Public Law 81-740.
  • 1952

    First issue of The National Future Farmer magazine published
  • 1953

    The U.S. Post Office Department issued a special stamp to celebrate the 25th anniversary of FFA.
    • President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to speak at a national FFA convention.
  • 1957

    Former President Harry S. Truman spoke during the national convention.
  • 1958

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

    First National FFA Center dedicated in Alexandria, Va., on land that had originally been used as the
    national FFA camp.
  • 1965

    • New Farmers of America merged with the Future Farmers of America.
  • 1966

    First FFA National Agricultural Career Show held at national FFA convention to highlight educational
    and career opportunities in agriculture.
  • 1968

    President Richard Nixon attended national FFA convention in Kansas City
  • 1969

    FFA opened membership to girls, making it possible for them to hold office and participate in
    competitive events at regional and national levels.
    • First National Star in Agribusiness, Ken Dunagan from Arizona, named.
    • Washington Conference (now called the Washington Leadership Conference) began.
    • Delegate body of the national FFA convention established alumni class of membership as part of the
  • 1971

    The National FFA Alumni Association chartered as an affiliate of the National FFA Organization.
  • 1973

    FFA Official Dress standards created.
  • 1974

    Fred McClure from Texas was the first African-American elected to a national FFA office.
    • President Gerald Ford was the guest speaker at national FFA convention; the speech
    was carried live on network television.
  • 1975

    Food For America program launched.
    • Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter – a former FFA member – spoke at the national FFA convention.
  • 1976

    Julie Smiley of Washington was the first female elected to a national office.
    • Alaska became the last of the 50 states to obtain a national charter.
  • 1978

    President Jimmy Carter addressed the 51st National FFA Convention.
  • 1979

    First Extemporaneous Public Speaking Event held and won by Christe Peterson of Wisconsin
  • 1980

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

    Jan Eberly, from California, became the first female national FFA president.
  • 1987

    Vice President George H. W. Bush spoke at national convention; Bush was elected president in 1988.
  • 1988

    • Future Farmers of America changed its name to the National FFA Organization to reflect the growing
    diversity in the industry of agriculture.
    • Seventh and eighth grade students permitted to become FFA members.
    • Agriscience Student Recognition Program introduced.
  • 1989

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

    Partners in Active Learning Support program launched.
  • 1994

    • Corey Flournoy, from Illinois, was the first African-American to be elected national FFA president; he
    was also the first urban student leader.
  • 1999

    72nd National FFA Convention held in Louisville, Ky., for the first time.
    • First National Creed Speaking event held. Winner: Michael Van Winkle, Arkansas.
  • 2006

    National FFA Foundation receives first $1 million contribution from the Ford Motor Company.
    • 79th National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis, Ind., for the first time, with 54,489 in attendance.
    • Endorsement of agricultural education’s long-range goal of 10,000 quality agricultural education
    programs by 2015, where every student is a member of FFA and has a relevant SAE.
  • 2017

    Student memebership meets an all time high of 653,359