Written by: Kayla Walls
February 20, 2017
Happy National FFA Week, everybody! As a former FFA member, I find myself constantly encouraging non members to join our organization. Over the years, I have heard countless excuses as to why they do not want, or are unable, to join. After a strong thought and long compilation of sources, I have put together a detailed list containing counterarguments. Stay tuned for the 6 greatest myths of FFA.
1. “You have to be a farmer to be in FFA.”
Contrary to popular belief, our organization isn’t even called the Future Farmers of America anymore. The name was changed to the National FFA Organization clear back in 1988 to embody the ever changing population that is involved with the organization. According to the National FFA website, “FFA is not just for students who want to be production farmers; FFA also welcomes members who aspire to careers as teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners, and more.” Even today, the National FFA Organization is committed to each and every member as it helps those individuals on the path to premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.
2. “FFA is just an easy A.”
Sorry to burst your bubble, but ag class is actually hard. While outsiders see the FFA members building cool projects and “skipping school” for important Career Development Event contests, any FFA member will tell you that they spent countless hours studying the parts of the cow, practicing that perfect T-weld, and memorizing their speaking part for Opening Ceremonies. In many high schools, ag class can count as your science credits, but you are more than welcome to take it alongside other sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, or Physics. While strangers may see ag class as the easy way out, many successful people were FFA members, including: singers Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw; Heisman winner Bo Jackson; and former President Jimmy Carter – just to name a few.
3. “There is nothing for me in FFA.”
Some people think that FFA just has nothing to offer them… they are wrong! FFA has something for everyone. If you like scrapbooking, you should look into helping make a chapter scrapbook to capture the events that your chapter put on this past year. If you like attending summer camp, Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum will be right up your alley. Additionally, Ohio has over forty Career Development Events that students can participate in. Some of these include: agricultural communications, animal health, job interview contest, and soil judging. If none of these interest you, I encourage you to check out the Ohio FFA web page or just click on 2016-2017 Ohio CDE Rules for the entire list. Surely you will find something you are passionate about!
4. “FFA is a man’s world.”
From female to female, this is my favorite excuse to hear. Let me remind you that 47% of all FFA members are in fact female. This amounts to 295,802 female FFA members, so trust me ladies, you won’t be alone. Not only are girls serving as members, but women hold 50% of State FFA leadership positions nationwide. Now that is girl-power!
5. “FFA doesn’t look fun.”
Between monthly FFA meetings, holiday get-togethers, FFA Week, State and National Conventions, and CDE Competitions, FFA is A BLAST. You are sure to meet some lifelong friends and create unforgettable memories in only a few short years. In hindsight as I relive my most cherished memories from high school, they all have one thing in common: FFA. Sometimes you will make your best friends while you are 630 feet up in the St. Louis Arch or while you are frantically running down the streets of Indianapolis wearing Official Dress trying to make it to the Opening Session of National FFA Convention on time. These are the memories that I will remember forever – now go create yours!
6. “There are no benefits of me being in FFA.”
As Chapter President, I learned how to effectively lead a large group of people with my quiet leadership style. As a shy freshman, I learned how to confidently speak in front of my peers as I memorized and recited the FFA Creed. In the Job Interview CDE, I mastered the art of a proper handshake and how to look an industry professional in the eye. I applied for scholarships and internships using the Resume and Cover Letter style that I learned in ag class. Although I was a sports team member my entire life, I finally felt the true meaning of teamwork when my Parliamentary Procedure team worked tirelessly to move on to the State contest. I also gained lifelong friends, found a role model in my ag teacher, and acquired the desire to form a career around FFA as an ag teacher myself. I owe the person I am today because of this organization and am confident that others will receive the same benefits.
What comes to my mind when thinking about the National FFA Organization is, “You may outgrow the jacket, but you will never outgrow the experience.” While I hope to never outgrow my jacket (it’s at least four sizes too big), I will always credit the National FFA Organization for my success. If you were in FFA, I am sure that reliving some of my favorite memories triggered some of your own. If you know someone thinking about being in FFA, show them this article as it might help them make up their mind. All in all, I am always thankful for the opportunity to be a member of the National FFA Organization that will always hold a special place in my heart.