The weeklong celebration runs from Feb. 16 to Feb. 23
By Diego Flammini
The next generation of the U.S. ag industry is preparing to be in the spotlight during National FFA Week.
Between Feb. 16 and Feb. 23, nearly 670,000 FFA members from 8,630 local chapters will help raise awareness about the role the organization plays in developing tomorrow’s leaders. Members will also highlight the importance of ag education.
The week-long celebration also allows former members to reflect on their time with the organization.
Jake Ledoux, a farmer from Croghan, N.Y., joined the Beaver River FFA in sixth grade. He continued his involvement into high school and eventually became the state vice-president. His time with the FFA extended into his time at Cornell University.
“I got to see the FFA from all different sides,” he told Farms.com.
While FFA is generally associated with farm kids, the organization welcomes people from all walks of life, Ledoux said.
Doing so helps to expose students to the range of careers in ag.
“The organization realizes that everyone who joins FFA isn’t from a farm and might not end up directly on a farm,” he said. “For every farmer in the field, there’s a seed dealer or a tractor dealer who doesn’t work directly on a farm. We need to celebrate those jobs and make sure we’re attracting as much talent to our industry as possible.”
FFA can teach members several lessons but one, in particular, stands out for Ledoux.
Being part of the organization allows members to travel and meet other people but remaining humble and proud of your beginnings is important, he said.
“Never forget where you come from,” he said. “I know it sounds like a cliché but, if young people don’t invest in where they live as they mature, how will the young people of tomorrow have the same experiences we did? There’s a quote about being able to sit in the shade of a tree that someone else planted. That’s how I like to look at it.”
The first National FFA Week occurred in 1948 in recognition of President Washington’s legacy as a farmer and ag supporter.
The celebration now always falls on the week of Feb. 22, which was Washington’s birthday.