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What is FFA? (FAQs)

What is FFA?

FFA is a dynamic student-led leadership development organization for students of agricultural education. The FFA changes lives and prepares students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.

What does F-F-A stand for?

F-F-A stands for Future Farmers of America, which is the official name of the organization, but we don’t use the full name and instead operate as the “FFA” because Future Farmers of America implies that we are all preparing to be farmers.  Agriculture is much broader than farming and ranching.  Members study things such as horticulture, aquaculture, food sciences, accounting, wildlife management, mechanics and engineering.

Are FFA members going to be farmers?

Yes and No.  Agriculture is a very broad field of study.  Members study things like landscaping, floriculture, animal science, computer applications, accounting, environmental science, mechanics and engineering.  Regardless of an FFA member’s career choice, the FFA provides opportunities to build and apply math, science, technology and leadership skills to their life.

What is the difference between 4-H and FFA?

We do many of the same things and have lots in common.   The 4-H is part of the cooperative extension service and is coordinated by local extension agents through county government and by volunteers.  4-H is not limited to agriculture, but takes in things like family and consumer sciences and other areas as well.  The FFA is an integral part of the school’s agricultural science program. Each local program is led by an agricultural science teacher who works for the school.  FFA members apply what they learn in the classroom in FFA activities through school activities.

Are there any jobs in agriculture?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at least 22 million people in the United States work in one of over 300 careers that exist in the field of agriculture.  While most people think of farming when the word agriculture is mentioned, there are agriculture-related jobs in veterinary science, marketing, food processing, retail sales and timber harvesting.  It is estimated that one in five people in the U.S. work in agriculture-related jobs.

How do I get my kids in FFA?

FFA is a part of the teaching program in agricultural sciences.  The first step is to enroll in an agricultural science class.  FFA activities are an outgrowth of the classroom and supervised independent enterprises and projects.

How old do kids have to be to be in FFA?

It depends on your local school district- at what grade level agricultural science courses are offered.  The earliest any school district can offer these classes is the seventh grade level. Some local chapters have a junior FFA program to allow younger students to affiliate themselves with the local chapter to exhibit livestock.  Students must be at least eight years old and in the third grade to participate in the junior FFA.

Does everyone have to raise a cow or pig in FFA?

No.  Every FFA member must have a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program.  An SAE is a project or enterprise that gives members hands-on training and a chance to apply what is learned in the classroom.  Livestock projects are very popular, but there are many options: placement in an agricultural job, internships, experimental work in agriscience, horticultural projects and crop projects are just a few.

Do you have to be a cowboy to be in FFA?

Western wear is popular among many FFA members, but is definitely not a requirement. FFA members come with all kinds of styles and interests.  From big cities like Houston and San Antonio to small towns all across Texas, what brings FFA members together is their interest in agriculture, leadership and community service.

How is Texas FFA Funded?

FFA programs are funded through private donations, grants and sponsorships at the local, state and national level. The Texas FFA Foundation, a separately registered non-profit organization, works with business and industry, organizations and individuals to raise funds to recognize FFA achievements and support activities. State dues for each FFA member are only $5 per year.

Who do I contact if I have questions about my local program?

The local FFA chapter is administered through the school district's agricultural science and technology department, led by a certified instructor who serves as advisor to the FFA.  The local department operates under the supervision of the campus administrator, career and technical education director and/or the school superintendent and under the governance of the local board of trustees. Your first contact is the local agricultural science instructor.

What is the relationship between the local chapter and the state association?

The Texas FFA Association operates programs which support the work of local chapters.  These programs include membership operations, competitive events, scholarship and awards programs, student leadership operations, annual state convention and statewide trademark licensing. To participate in these programs and apply the FFA name and trademarks, a local chapter must remain in good standing by paying membership dues pursuant to applicable policies and submitting all other required documentation.  Supervision and governance of local program operations is the responsibility of local administrator and trustees.

What if our school does not offer agricultural education classes and the FFA?

Some school districts allow students from other districts to access career and technical education courses such as agricultural science by an agreement between the districts. Normally, the student would be required to provide transportation to the receiving district.  If there is enough interest in establishing an agricultural science instructional program, one might consider approaching the superintendent or board of trustees with a proposal to establish a program.

What about private school and home schooled students?  Can they be FFA members?

FFA is integral to a systematic school-based agricultural science instructional program.  Private schools may establish agricultural science instructional programs following the State Plan for Career and Technical Education program guidelines and charter an FFA chapter in the same manner as a public school. Because FFA is part of a school-based instructional program, no provision exists for home-schooled students.  However, some districts may allow in-district home-schooled students to access the career and technical education program and participate in the student organizations affiliated with these programs.  This is a local district decision.

What’s up with the blue corduroy jacket?

The blue corduroy jacket was adopted at the official dress after the Fredericktown, Ohio chapter had the blue jackets made for their local chapter in 1933 and came to the National FFA convention wearing them.  The delegates at that convention voted to make that the official jacket, and they have been part of the official uniform ever since.

I owned an FFA jacket at one time and would like to purchase another.  Is this possible?

Yes.  All such purchases may be made through the National FFA Organization's supply service--FFA Unlimited. This contact may be made sending an inquiry to ffaunlimited@ffa.org or calling the National FFA Center main number, 317-802-6060, and asking for the supply service.  Purchase of replacement jackets by former members must be approved by the State FFA Advisor.  Approval is contingent on the verification of previous membership and on the agreement by the purchaser that the jacket is being purchased for display purposes only--not to be worn.

How many members are in the Texas FFA?

Texas FFA is proud to have one of the largest state memberships within the National FFA Organization.  Texas FFA membership has steadily grown toward a new membership record with over 81,000 members in 2010-2011.


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