FFA. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but have you ever wondered what this organization is and what they really do? In honor of national FFA week, I (Brynn) would like to share a bit about this important organization. The National FFA Organization prepares students to become future leaders through agricultural education. Members of this organization could be the next agronomist at your local CPI, the vet that gives your new puppy its vaccines, or even the next meteorologist you’ll end up listening to every morning. Overall FFA provides students with opportunities to discover their talents and reach their full potential through hands-on and real life experience

Members in FFA can learn about anything in ag from how to properly care for a garden, to how to start their own business. Which we actually do through things like LDE’s, CDE’s, and SAE’s. Unless you’re familiar with these terms, you must be wondering what the heck any of those are. An LDE is a leadership development event and is focused on, you guessed it, leadership. Students can compete in competitions like public speaking and job interviews. A CDE is a career development event, where students can compete in competitions that mimic a real life job. Some of these are ag sales and floriculture. An SAE is a supervised agricultural experience. This is where students can, but aren’t limited to starting their own business or working an agricultural job. Options for SAE’s are pretty much endless and are a great way to get students to experience real-life scenarios and maybe even see what their future could look like. There’s also other separate competitions like range and livestock judging.

The STC chapter at livestock judging.

What about the ways FFA has impacted me so far? If you’re gonna take it from anybody, take it from a student who’s actually involved in FFA. Obviously, I’ve only been a member for less than a year, seeing that I’m a freshman and my school’s chapter was just added this year, but I can still testify to the fact that FFA really is building our future leaders. I competed in cooperative speaking at LDE’s. I had to prepare a speech and slideshow that covered a topic relating to cooperatives. I’ve never written a speech before so it was a big eye opener on how long it takes to put it all together. Competing in this competition though, did give me the chance to become a better public speaker which is a tool I will utilize for the rest of my life. Fortunately, I got first and will compete at state on April 6. As for my SAE, this is it. I plan on helping run social media and content for Weeks Family Farms. I also plan on growing flowers to sell at the farmers market but that’s of course only in the summer. If it wasn’t for FFA I can’t think of any other time opportunities like these would have presented themselves. 

Me with my medal from LDE districts.

So now that I’ve told you a little bit about FFA and the ways it’s impacted me so far, I’m sure you’re wondering in what ways you can support this organization and its members. One way you can support its members is by donating to the “Gift of the Blue” nonprofit. This nonprofit accepts donations to provide FFA members with the ever famous blue corduroy jacket. Specifically to those who would not be able to get them otherwise. Or, on the other hand, you can simple donate directly to a chapter. But, you don’t just need to hand over your wallet (while you can) to support FFA. You’re actually supporting me and my SAE just by reading this. You can also volunteer to judge competitions or give your local FFA chapter’s social media account a follow (I’ll be sure to link my chapter’s down below).