FFA History

  • 1917

    Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act establishes vocational agricultural courses.
  • 1925

    Virginia Tech agricultural education teacher educators Henry C. Groseclose, Harry W. Sanders, Walter S. Newman and Edmund C. Magill organize the Future Farmers of Virginia (FFV) for boys in agriculture classes. The FFV serves 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 at the American Royal Livestock and Horse Show in Kansas City, MO
  • 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.
  • 1928

    Future Farmers of America is established in Kansas City, MO. Leslie Applegate from New Jersey is elected the first National FFA president.
  • 1929

    National Blue and Corn Gold are adopted as the 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.
  • 1930

    Official FFA Creed, written by E.M. Tiffany, is adopted. First FFA Manual printed by The Farm Journal of Philadelphia.
  • 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 official dress. A group of FFA officers make a pilgrimage to Washington D.C., where they are greeted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • 1935

    The 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.
  • 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 National FFA Headquarters; the land was once a part of George Washington's estate.The H.O. Sargent Trophy Award is created to honor H.O. Sargent's commitment to helping NFA members achieve succsess and leadership in agriculture.
  • 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 Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle and participate in the famous air raid on Tokyo.
  • 1944

    the Future Farmers of America Foundation is formed in Washington D.C. to raise money for FFA programs and activities. 138,548 FFA members serve in WWII, delegates revise FFA membership rules so time served in the armed forces will not count in determining a members period of eligibility.
  • 1946

    Attendance at the National FFA "Victory Convention" is 12,500. Those in attendance honor the 260,450 FFA members who served and 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.
  • 1948

    First FFA week is celebrated during the week of George Washington's Birthday. National FFA supply service begins operation.
  • 1949

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

    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.
  • 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 issues a special 3-cent stamp-the cost of mailing a first class letter then-to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the FFA. The first stamps are released in Kansas 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.
  • 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 the NFA with a certificate of appreciation.
  • 1959

    First National FFA Center is dedicated in Alexandria, VA., on land that was once a part of Washington's estate. An FFA camp had been located here earlier. FFA holds its first National Leadership Training Conference for state officers in Washington D.C.
  • 1964

    FFA sells its one-millionth FFA jacket.
  • 1965

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

    First FFA National Agricultural Career show (now called expo) is held at the National FFA Convention to highlight educational 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 president the following month.
  • 1969

    The FFA opens membership to females, making it possible for them to hold office and participate in competitive events at regional and national levels.
  • 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) is established.
  • 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 is started. First FFA student handbook is published.
  • 1976

    Julie Smiley from Washington is elected national FFA vice president and is the first female to hold national FFA office. Alaska becomes the last of 50 states to receive a federal 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, CA.
  • 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. President Ronald Reagan speaks via prerecorded message at the National FFA Convention.
  • 1989

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

    The Partners in Active Learning Support (PALS) program launches. 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 5 chapters in Micronesia, are chartered.
  • 1994

    Corey Flournoy fro 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 the chapters. FFA announces its decision to move the National FFA Headquarters from Alexandria, VA., to Indianapolis
  • 1997

    The first Agri-Entrepreneurship Award is presented.
  • 1998

    The National FFA Center in Indianapolis is dedicated on July, 20. Jose Santiago from Puerto Rico is elected national FFA vice president. He is the first member from Puerto Rico to serve as a national FFA officer.
  • 1999

    The National FFA convention is held in Louisville, Ky., for the first time with 46,918 in attendance.
  • 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

    "Only Blue Will Do!" launches. The campaign focuses on restoring the official FFA jacket colors to the true National Blue and Corn Gold, as well as providing a superior fitting jacket.
  • 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.
  • 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 contribution from the Ford Motor Company.
  • 2007

    FFA membership exceeds the half-million mark with 500,823 members in 7,538 chapters.
  • 2008

    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 the national FFA advisor. FFA celebrates the 75th anniversary of the NFA.
  • 2011

    FFA celebrates Native Americans in FFA, agriculture and agriculture education during the 84th National FFA convention.
  • 2012

    FFA members and supporters pack 1,005,048 meals during the national convention and expo's FFA Rally to Fight Hunger.
  • 2013

    Ram Truck's "So God Made a Farmer" Super Bowl commercial exceeds 18 million views on Youtube; company donates $1 million to the FFA
  • 2014

    The Give the Gift of Blue program starts.
  • 2015

    FFA announces the national convention and expo to move to Indianapolis from 2016-14
  • 2016

    National FFA Alumni membership jumps to 225,891 members, up from 65,705 in 2015.
  • 2017

    Convention delegate recommendations to alter Official Dress and the opening ceremony get approval from the national board of directors.
  • 2018

    President Donald Trump speaks at the National Convention and Expo.
  • 2019

    The National FFA Foundation celebrates its 75th anniversary.