National FFA membership at 31-year high
INDIANAPOLIS – The National FFA Organization announced recently that this year there are 507,763 members in 7,439 FFA chapters across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
“This is an exciting time for FFA, as we are nearing the all-time-high membership total we originally reached in the 1970s,” said Dr. Larry Case, chief executive officer and national advisor for the National FFA Organization. “These membership numbers help prove what we already know – FFA is relevant in students’ lives and futures because it helps prepare them for more than 300 diverse and plentiful career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fuel and fiber industries.”
The all-time national FFA membership topped 509,000 in 1976-1977. Since that time, the percentage of members living on farms has decreased. Today, 27 percent of FFA members live in rural farm areas, whereas 40 percent live in rural nonfarm areas and the remaining 33 percent live in urban and suburban areas.
“FFA members are spreading the word at their schools, and new students are becoming members and learning about the great opportunities offered in FFA and agricultural education,” said Zack Kinne, the 2007-2008 national FFA president, from Eagleville, MO.
There are FFA chapters in 16 of the 20 largest U.S. cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. Women make up 38 percent of FFA members, and hold more than 47 percent of state leadership positions.
In the midst of monumental global changes in the agricultural economy, FFA members and students of agriculture are being asked to assume leadership roles in the nation’s largest economic sector – agriculture – that accounts for 17 percent of the American workforce. To help ensure that its students are best prepared to succeed in these demanding and evolving career opportunities, the National FFA Organization is supporting a strategic long-range goal to have 10,000 quality agricultural education programs with FFA chapters nationwide by the year 2015.
FFA membership is open to students aged 12-21 and enrolled in agricultural education programs in public high schools; six percent of current members participate in middle school programs and five percent are high school graduates or members in Collegiate FFA.
FFA was organized nationally in 1928 in Kansas City, MO. In 1950, Congress granted FFA a federal charter, making it an integral, intracurricular part of the public agricultural instruction under the National Vocational Education Acts. FFA receives no federal funding. For more than 80 years, agricultural education and FFA have demonstrated a proven ability to help students grow personally, build their potential for leadership and pave the way for successful careers.
The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 507,763 student members – all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture – as part of 7,439 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Organization changed to its present name in 1988, in recognition of the growth and diversity of agriculture and agricultural education. FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Visit http://www.ffa.org for more information.