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The Timeline of FFA and how it came to be what it is today


The advancement in agricultural education since the Smith – Hughes Act has bettered the quality of life not just for America’s rural and farm families but for everyone across the globe who is fed and clothed by the American Farmer. As with every great journey, it started with that first step. 2017 was the centennial celebration of the Smith – Hughes Act, America’s first step in transforming education.


Virginia Tech agricultural education teacher educators Henry Groseclose, Harry Sanders, Walter S. Newman and Edmund C. Magill organized the Future Farmers of Virginia for boys in agriculture classes. The FFV served as the model for the Future Farmers of America.


The First National Congress of Vocational Agriculture Students assembles for a National Livestock Judging Contest at the American Royal Livestock and Horse Show in Kansas City, Mo.


H.O. Sargent, a federal agent for agricultural education for African- Americans at the U.S. Office of Education, and G.W. Owens, a teacher-trainer at Virginia State College, write the first constitution and bylaws for the New Farmers of Virginia, an organization for African-American agriculture students. The organization holds its first state rally that same year.


Future Farmers of America is established in Kansas City, Mo. First National FFA Convention is held in Kansas City, Mo.: 33 delegates from 18 states (Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin) are in attendance. Leslie Applegate from New Jersey is elected first national FFA president. First sectional gathering of New Farmers of America (NFA) members is held.


National blue and corn gold are adopted as official FFA colors. Carlton Patton from Arkansas is named the first Star Farmer of America. This is one of the first awards created by FFA, and it was sponsored until 1949 by the Kansas City Star. First National Chapter Contest is launched and sponsored by Farm Journal magazine. At the Second National FFA Convention in November, 33 states are represented by 64 delegates. Thirty-five state associations with approximately 1,500 chapters and 30,000 members are affiliated with the national organization.


Official FFA Creed, written by E.M. Tiffany, adopted. First National Public Speaking event held. Winner: Edward Drace, Missouri. First Official Dress uniform adopted: dark blue shirt, blue or white pants, blue cap and yellow tie. Delegates restricted membership to boys only. First Official FFA Manual printed.


The National FFA Radio Program on NBC is launched.


A charter is granted to the Puerto Rico FFA Association.


Blue corduroy jacket adopted as Official Dress. A group of FFA officers and members made a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., where they were greeted on the White House lawn by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


New Farmers of America founded in Tuskegee, Ala. Active FFA membership exceeded 100,000 members. To learn more about NFA, visit the New Farmers of America Records webpage in the Philanthropy Archives of the IUPUI library. An NFA digital archive is also available. The North Carolina FFA Association has a sizeable collection of historical NFA memorabilia as well.


During national convention, action taken to establish a national FFA camp and leadership training school in Washington, D.C.


28.5 acres of land purchased near Alexandria, Va., for the first FFA-owned national headquarters; the land was part of George Washington’s estate. Identical twins Albert and Arthur Lacy of Hondo, Texas, become the only members ever to share the title of Star Farmer of America. The “H.O. Sargent Trophy Award” was created to honor H.O. Sargent’s commitment to helping NFA members achieve success and leadership in agriculture.


During World War II, when tens of thousands of FFA members served in the armed services, national FFA conventions were streamlined events where only delegates and award winners attend. In 1942, just 217 people attended the convention.


Future Farmers of America Foundation formed to raise money from business, industry, government, individuals and sponsors for FFA programs and activities. 138,548 FFA members were serving in the Armed Services in World War II. First National FFA Agriculture Proficiency Award presented for Agricultural Mechanics.


Attendance at the National FFA “Victory Convention” is 12,500. Those in attendance honor the 260,450 FFA members who served and the 7,188 who paid the supreme sacrifice, losing their lives in the war.


First National FFA Band performed at national FFA convention.


First FFA Chorus and National FFA Talent program held at national FFA convention. National FFA Supply Service began operation. Record jump in membership from 238,269 in 1947 to 260,300 in 1948; so many members attended the 20th National FFA Convention that a folding- cot hotel was set up in the basement of the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. First FFA Week celebrated during the week of George Washington’s birthday.


First International Exchange Program for FFA members began with Young Farmers Club of Great Britain.


A bill was passed by the 81st Congress of the United States that granted FFA a federal charter and specified that a U.S. Department of Education staff member be the national FFA advisor. On Aug. 30, President Harry S. Truman signed the bill, and it became Public Law 81-740.


First issue of The National Future Farmer magazine published.


The U.S. Post Office Department issued a special stamp to celebrate the 25th anniversary of FFA. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to speak at a national FFA convention.


Photo of American Star Farmer Joe Moore is on the cover of Time magazine.


Former President Harry S. Truman spoke during the national convention.


The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis presented NFA with a Certificate of Appreciation.


First National FFA Center is dedicated in Alexandria, Va., on land that was once part of George Washington’s estate. An FFA camp had been located here earlier. FFA holds its first National Leadership Training Conference for state officers in Washington, D.C.


FFA sells its one-millionth FFA jacket.


NFA merges with FFA, increasing FFA membership by more than 50,000. Delegates vote to increase FFA membership dues from 10 cents to 50 cents, allowing all members to receive the official FFA magazine, The National Future Farmer.


First FFA National

Agricultural Career Show (now called expo) is held at the National FFA Convention to highlight educational and career opportunities in agriculture.


Elmer J. Johnson helps develop the FFA archives at the National FFA Center.


Presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon speaks at the National FFA Convention. Nixon is elected U.S. president the following month.


FFA opens membership to females, making it possible for them to hold office and participate in competitive events at regional and national levels. Ken Dunagan from Arizona is named the first American Star in Agribusiness. The Washington Conference (now Washington Leadership Conference — WLC) begins. The delegate body of the National FFA Convention establishes alumni class of membership as part of the constitution.


New York’s Anita Decker and New Jersey’s Patricia Krowicki become the first two female delegates to the national convention.


The National FFA Alumni Association is established. The Building Our American Communities (BOAC) program begins.


FFA Official Dress standards are created. National FFA Secretary Fred McClure from Texas is the first African-American elected to a national FFA office.


President, Gerald Ford, speaks at the National FFA Convention. The speech is carried live on network television.


Food for America program launches. Jimmy Carter, former Georgia governor and a former member of the Plains (Ga.) FFA

Chapter, speaks at the National FFA Convention. Carter was elected U.S. president the following year. First FFA Student Handbook is published.


along with five chapters in Micronesia, are chartered.


President Jimmy Carter speaks at the 51st National FFA Convention again, this time as a U.S. president. The commemorative marker noting the site of the organization’s founding is unveiled in Kansas City, Mo.


Christe Peterson from Wisconsin wins the first Extemporaneous Public Speaking Event.


The National Foundation raises $1 million in one year for the first time.


Jan Eberly from California becomes the first female national FFA president.


The Ag Ed Network, the organization’s computerized information service, launches.


The first FFA TV public service announcements air.


The first Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award is presented to Steven McKay from Boonville, Calif.


The first national television satellite broadcast of the National FFA Convention airs. Vice President George H.W. Bush speaks at the National FFA Convention. Bush is elected U.S. president the following year.


The Future Farmers of America changes its name to the National FFA Organization to reflect the growing diversity in agriculture. Seventh and eighth grade students are permitted to become FFA members. The Agriscience Student Recognition Program is introduced. President Ronald Reagan speaks at the National FFA Convention via a prerecorded message.


The National Future Farmer magazine changes its name to FFA New Horizons.


The Partners in Active Learning Support (PALS) program launches. National convention delegates vote to raise the number of official votingdelegatesto475basedon proportional representation. Delegates vote “no” to a new FFA Creed during the 63rd National FFA Convention.


FFA chapters in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam,


Corey Flournoy from Illinois is the first African- American to be elected national FFA president; he is also the first urban student leader.


H.O. Sargent Award is reinstated, promoting diversity among chapters. FFA announces its decision to move the National FFA Center from Alexandria, Va., to Indianapolis. FFA announces its decision to move the National FFA Convention from Kansas City, Mo., to Louisville, Ky., in 1999. The official website for FFA, FFA. org, debuts.


Entrepreneurship Award is presented.


The National FFA Center in Indianapolis is dedicated on July 20. The Agricultural Education National Headquarters is dedicated in Alexandria, Va. The National FFA Convention is held in Kansas City, Mo., for the last time. Jose Santiago from Puerto Rico is elected national FFA vice president. He is the first member from Puerto Rico to serve as a national FFA officer. Public Law 81-740 is revised through the 105th Congress and replaced by Public Law 105- 225 on Aug. 12.


The National FFA Convention is held in Louisville, Ky., for the first time with 46,918 in attendance. Michael Van Winkle from Arkansas wins the first National Creed Speaking event.


The National FFA Archives at Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) opens. Delegates at the National FFA Convention approve the Discovery FFA Degree for middle school students.


Steven Offer from Wisconsin is named the first American Star in Agriscience. Nicholas Streff from South Dakota is named the first American Star in Agricultural Placement.


The 75th National FFA Convention is held in Louisville, Ky. To celebrate this special event, the time capsule from the 50th National FFA Convention is opened. Special guest Muhammad Ali is recognized at Reflections to honor the growing diversity of the National FFA Organization. Karlene Lindow from Wisconsin is named American Star Farmer. Lindow is the first female to receive this award. Official Dress standards are revised.


Javier Moreno from Puerto Rico is elected national president; he becomes the first person with a native language other than English

and the first Puerto Rican elected to this office. “Only Blue Will Do!” launches. The campaign focuses on restoring the official FFA jacket colors to the true national blue and corn gold, as well as providing a superior-fitting jacket. “FFA Live!” launches on RFD-TV.


The first live webcast of the National FFA Convention premieres on


National FFA launches Seeds of Hope, a fundraising campaign to rebuild Gulf Coast states’ agricultural education and FFA programs following Hurricane Katrina; $835,699 in donations is distributed to affected programs. The National FFA Foundation tops the $10 million mark in raising money in one year for FFA programs and services.


The 79th National FFA Convention is held in Indianapolis for the first time, with 54,589 in attendance. The National FFA Foundation announces its first $1 million contribution from the Ford Motor Company.


The FFA Merchandise Center opens in Indianapolis. FFA membership exceeds the half-million mark with 500,823 members in 7,358 chapters. FFA New Horizons adds online feature—


The FFA member networking site, FFA Nation (now defunct), launches. The FFA board of directors makes the decision to rotate the National FFA Convention between Louisville and Indianapolis, beginning with Louisville in 2013.


FFA celebrates 40 years of women in the organization.


Dr. Larry Case retires after 26 years as national FFA advisor. FFA celebrates the 75th anniversary of the founding of NFA. Six college-age FFA members travel to Zambia for the FFA Global Outreach: Africa program.


The National FFA Alumni Association celebrates its 40th anniversary. FFA celebrates Native Americans in FFA, agriculture and agricultural education during the 84th National FFA Convention. Dr. Steve A. Brown is named national advisor/board chair.


Patrick Gottsch donates $1 million on behalf of RFD- TV to the National FFA Organization, the single- largest unrestricted donation in the organization’s history. National FFA Foundation receives a record of more than $16.2 million in support of FFA. FFA members and supporters pack 1,005,048 meals during the national convention and expo’s FFA Rally to Fight Hunger. FFA celebrates Latinos/Hispanics in FFA, agriculture and

agricultural education during the national convention and expo.


Sherene Donaldson is named first female national FFA executive secretary. Ram Truck’s “So God Made a Farmer” Super Bowl commercial exceeds 18 million views on YouTube; company donates $1 million to FFA. FFA Today Radio Show debuts on SiriusXM’s RURAL RADIO channel.


FFA members earn a record 3,765 American FFA Degrees. Five FFA jackets are donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The Give the Gift of Blue Program begins.


FFA announces the national convention and expo to move to Indianapolis from 2016-24. Membership in the National FFA Alumni Association reaches 62,705 alumni. The organization’s official website,, is updated to include a new look, a personalized dashboard, the resource My Journey, the FFA Resume Generator© and the FFA Brand Center. The FFA emblem is also newly refreshed to modernize the FFA brand. First Lady Michelle Obama gives video greetings to attendees at the national convention and expo.


National FFA Alumni membership jumps to 225,891 members, up from 62,705 in 2015. FFA, Discovery Education and partner to create AgExplorer, a career website to help students explore unique careers in agriculture.


Convention delegate recommendations to alter Official Dress and the opening ceremony get approval from the National FFA Board of Directors. Breanna Holbert from California is the first African-American female to be elected national FFA president.


The board of directors votes to rename the National FFA Alumni Association to National FFA Alumni and Supporters and change its bylaws to operational policies. The National FFA Alumni Council becomes the National FFA Alumni and Supporters Advisory Committee. The 91st National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis has a record attendance of 69,944. President Donald Trump speaks at the National FFA Convention & Expo.


Student membership hits an all-time high with 700,170 members in 8,612 chapters. FFA celebrates the 50th anniversaries of the Washington Leadership Conference and the delegate vote that allowed female membership. The National FFA Foundation celebrates its 75th anniversary.


Student membership hits an all-time high with 760,113 members in 8,739 chapters. The 10,000th jacket is gifted through the Give the Gift of Blue program. The First virtual National FFA Convention & Expo is held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Forever Blue Network is launched. For the first time in 50 years, the Washington Leadership Conference is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Julie Smiley Washington is elected national FFA vice president and is the first female to hold a national FFA office. Alaska becomes the last of the 50 states to obtain a national charter.



  1. Berveley Dorzilme on September 14, 2022 at 10:50 am

    The National FFA Alumni Council becomes the National FFA Alumni and Supporters Advisory Committee.

  2. Zhairia Owens on September 25, 2022 at 5:56 pm

    The National FFA Alumni Council becomes the National FFA Alumni and Supporters Advisory Committee.

  3. Amir Wright on January 17, 2023 at 1:09 pm

    The National FFA Alumni Council becomes the National FFA Alumni and Supporters Advisory Committee.

  4. Jabari Daughtry on January 20, 2023 at 12:32 pm

    The national FFA alumni council becomes the National FFA alumini and supporters advisory committe

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