Nebraska’s 7,400 FFA members will mark the start of National FFA Week tomorrow by driving their tractors into town, holding pancake breakfasts and other events to celebrate.
Kurt Veldhuizen, an FFA advisor, says the organization has played a vital role in teaching today’s students about the ag economy of the 21st century.
“We’re rooted in agriculture,” Veldhuizen says, “and our number-one goal is there in our mission statement that leadership, personal growth and career success for our students and we just use agriculture kind of as the path.”
Agriculture is the nation’s top industry and currently employs more than 24-million people. Opportunities abound as there are 11 jobs for every single applicant in the ag industry.
While the organization used to be known as Future Farmers of America, the FFA has grown with the times — and with technology.
“Agriculture has broadened out so much in the last 20 years,” Veldhuizen says. “We used to think 40 or 50 years ago that agriculture was just farming. Today, the farmer has to be supported by so many different fields and careers and opportunities for these kids to get involved in. That’s really exciting.”
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the FFA program, founded in 1928. Many FFA chapters statewide will have special theme days next week, introducing elementary students to the world of agriculture.
There are 170 FFA chapters in Nebraska, while more than half of the 254 schools in Nebraska have agriculture education and FFA. Nationwide, there are over 659,000 members of the FFA in 7,400 chapters in all 50 states.