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Help honor FFA

By Staff | Jul 29, 2011

FFA was established in 1928 as Future Farmers of America. It was renamed the National FFA Organization in 1988 to reflect the rapid changes and greater employment diversity in agriculture. To most of us, it is known simply as FFA.

After more than eight decades, FFA continues to enrich the lives of students by helping them develop their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education.

The FFA motto captures the spirit of the organization succinctly: “Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve.”

Those 12 words help explain why this vibrant organization is as important today as it was in a more rural America.

In the 21st century, FFA embraces a lot more than traditional farm life. According to its national Web site, more than 300 careers are facilitated by FFA – everything from agriscience to biotechnology to turf grass management. The organization now has a membership of 506,199. There are 7,429 chapters. FFA boasts members in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

An important milestone for FFA is rapidly approaching – its 85th anniversary. With that in mind, Sen. Charles Grassley has introduced legislation to allow the minting of coins to commemorate the organization. According to information provided by the Iowa Republican’s office:

“The commemorative coin legislation would require the U.S. Mint to issue 100,000 gold coins and 500,000 silver coins. After all operational and program costs incurred by the Treasury are recovered, then funds raised from the sale of coins would go to the National Future Farmers of America Foundation. As a result, there are no costs to the taxpayer. The FFA Foundation would use its proceeds to enhance and expand FFA programs that develop leadership skills, encourage personal growth and foster career success through agricultural education.”

Those of us who live in rural Iowa need little reminder of the importance of agriculture education and the contributions to our nation made by those who pursue careers in agriculture. Enactment of Grassley’s proposal, however, would be excellent way to showcase the activities of FFA at the local, state and national levels. Farm News applauds the senator on this initiative and strongly supports this bill.

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