FFA members celebrate years of tradition
BY DEVANI HINKELMANN
SECTION 7 STATE VICE PRESIDENT, WISCONSIN FFA
SPENCER — Students from across the nation continue to celebrate the National FFA Organization every single year, no matter the circumstances. From a global pandemic, to hybrid school schedules, to finally being back to a new “normal,” nothing has stopped FFA members from celebrating the decades of traditions and monumental events that have been left behind. With FFA being in its 95th year, we as members take time to reflect on the amazing things that have happened throughout FFA history while celebrating National FFA Week, February 18-25.
In 1917, the Smith-Hughes Act was established, allowing agriculture into the classroom. This was the first step towards FFA. While most knew at the time that this was a step in the right direction, no one quite knew where this would lead. In 1925 the “Father of FFA,” Henry Groseclose, organized the Future Farmers of Virginia. The Future Farmers of Virginia (FFV) then would go on to serve as the model for the Future Farmers of America within the next few years. Finally, on Nov. 20, 1928, the National FFA Organization was established in Kansas City, Missouri. This was the beginning of decades worth of traditions and change toward the future of agriculture.
Since its early days, FFA members and advisors have worked tirelessly to improve the organization as a whole, whether that was adopting the FFA Creed in 1930 and the FFA corduroy jacket in 1933. Today, these both continue to serve as backbones to the National FFA Organization, along with the 1965 merger of the New Farmers of America and Future Farmers of America, which allowed for unity amongst similar organizations. Let’s not forget 1969, when females were allowed to join FFA. This groundbreaking change resulted in a large increase in membership through the years. In 1988, the Future Farmers of America went on to change their name to the National FFA Organization to support the diverse agriculture industry, in addition to seventh and eighth grade students being allowed to join FFA. Fast forward to 2022, when National FFA delegates approved a constitutional amendment, allowing fifth and sixth grade students to become FFA members, beginning in the following school year. Over the years, the changes we have made as members have helped the National FFA Organization become a more diverse and inclusive organization.
As FFA members, both in Wisconsin and nationwide, we work hard to ensure that the traditions and legacies of those before us continue to be remembered and appreciated, no matter the challenges thrown our way. While we set aside one week each year to specifically celebrate National FFA, we continue to celebrate the organization as a whole, each day when we see the impact the National FFA Organization has had on the agriculture industry. As FFA members, we celebrate this week, but we also celebrate those before us that helped shape the organization into what it is today.
The Wisconsin FFA Center headquarters are located in Spencer and the Wisconsin FFA Foundation is based out of Madison.
To learn more about the rich history of the National FFA Organization and the work our members put in to carrying on its legacy, visit wisconsinaged.org.
Devani Hinkelmann is a graduate of Loyal High School, and currently attends UW-River Falls, majoring in Agricultural Marketing/Communications.