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FFA 101 - What is FFA?

FFA Overview

Mission: 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.

Learning to do, Doing to learn, Earning to live, Living to serve.

3-Part System:
FFA is both curricular and intracurricular!  
The program is part of a three-part model of education that consists of classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experiences and the FFA. Classroom agricultural education is applied to hands-on learning opportunities called supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs). SAEs include activities such as raising an animal, building an Ag mechanics project, starting a business, working for an established company or working in production agriculture. The FFA provides members the opportunity for leadership experience and competitions, scholarships and personal opportunities for involvement. 

What is FFA?

FFA is a dynamic student-led leadership development organization for students of agricultural education. The FFA changes lives and prepares students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.

What does F-F-A stand for?

F-F-A stands for Future Farmers of America, which is the official name of the organization, but we don’t use the full name and instead operate as the “FFA” because Future Farmers of America implies that we are all preparing to be farmers.  Agriculture is much broader than farming and ranching.  Members study things such as horticulture, aquaculture, food sciences, accounting, wildlife management, mechanics and engineering.

Are FFA members going to be farmers?

Yes and No.  Agriculture is a very broad field of study.  Members study things like landscaping, floriculture, animal science, computer applications, accounting, environmental science, mechanics and engineering.  Regardless of an FFA member’s career choice, the FFA provides opportunities to build and apply math, science, technology, leadership and goal-setting skills to their life.

What is the difference between 4-H and FFA?

We do many of the same things and have lots in common. The 4-H is part of the cooperative extension service and is coordinated by local extension agents through county government and by volunteers.  4-H is not limited to agriculture, but takes in things like family and consumer sciences and other areas as well.  The FFA is an integral part of the school’s agricultural sciences program. Each local FFA program is led by an agricultural sciences teacher who works for the school. FFA members apply what they learn in the classroom to their FFA activities.

Are there any jobs in agriculture?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at least 22 million people in the United States work in one of over 300 careers that exist in the field of agriculture.  While most people think of farming when the word agriculture is mentioned, there are agriculture-related jobs in veterinary science, marketing, food processing, retail sales and timber harvesting.  It is estimated that one in five people in the U.S. work in agriculture-related jobs.

How do I get my kids in FFA?

FFA is a part of the teaching program in agricultural sciences. The first step is to enroll in an agricultural science course if your child is in grades 9th-12th. FFA activities are an outgrowth of the classroom and supervised independent enterprises and projects. Interested students or parents should contact their Ag Science Teacher (AST). 

How old do kids have to be to be in Junior FFA?

Bellaire High School has a junior FFA program to allow younger students to affiliate themselves with the local chapter in order to exhibit livestock. Interested students in grades 3rd-8th should have their parents contact the Ag Science Teachers.

Does everyone have to raise an animal in FFA?

No.  Every FFA member must have a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program.  An SAE is a project or enterprise that gives members hands-on experience and a chance to apply what is learned in the classroom.  Livestock projects are very popular, but there are many options: veterinary medicine, agricultural mechanics, energy systems, aquaculture, internships or placement in an agricultural job, agriscience research, horticulture, communications, natural resources management, food science, forest management, landscape management, outdoor recreation, small animal care, wildlife management and crop projects are just a few.

Do you have to be a cowboy to be in FFA?

Western wear is popular among many FFA members, but is definitely not a requirement. FFA members come with all kinds of styles and interests.  From big cities like Houston and Dallas to small towns all across Texas, what brings FFA members together is their interest in agriculture, leadership and community service.

Who do I contact if I have questions about my local program?

The Bellaire FFA chapter is affiliated with the Agricultural Sciences Department at Bellaire High School led by Ms. Vanessa Collier and Ms. Anne Hart who also serve as the Bellaire FFA Advisors. The Bellaire High School Agricultural Sciences Department operates under the supervision of the Bellaire High School and Houston ISD administrators. 

What is the relationship between the local chapter and the state association?

The Texas FFA Association operates programs which support the work of local chapters (e.g., Bellaire HS Chapter).  These programs include membership operations, competitive events, scholarship and awards programs, student leadership operations, annual state convention and statewide trademark licensing. To participate in these programs and apply the FFA name and trademarks, a local chapter must remain in good standing by paying membership dues pursuant to applicable policies and submitting all other required documentation.  Supervision and governance of local program operations is the responsibility of local administrators and trustees.  

What’s up the FFA official dress?

The blue corduroy jacket was adopted as the official dress after the Fredericktown, Ohio chapter had the blue jackets made for their local chapter in 1933 and came to the National FFA convention wearing them.  The delegates at that convention voted to make that the official jacket, and they have been part of the official uniform ever since.  Please see Official Dress for more details.

How many members are in the Texas FFA?

Texas FFA is proud to have one of the largest state memberships within the National FFA Organization. Texas FFA membership has steadily grown toward a new membership record with roughly 90,000 FFA members. 


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