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Published February 27, 2010, 12:00 AM

Column: Reap the rewards of FFA involvement

WORTHINGTON — The National FFA Organization is the largest youth organization in the world. There are 506,199 members in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

By: Deb Martin, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — The National FFA Organization is the largest youth organization in the world. There are 506,199 members in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA is an integral part of agriculture education programs. It gives students the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom and/or the chance to try something new. This can be accomplished through work experience and career development events (CDE). In addition, the FFA has a variety of award programs, scholarships, leadership development workshops and promotes community involvement via community service.

In an organization that used to be dominated by men, women now account for over 50 percent of the state leadership positions. Twenty-seven percent of FFA members live in rural, farm areas and the remaining live in urban areas. It is no longer a group for “farm kids.”

This past week the Worthington FFA celebrated National FFA Week at school with a variety of activities including an FFA medallion hunt, homemade cookies for teachers and staff, the dirtiest car/truck contest and a couple dress-up days. On Feb. 17, five of the senior FFA members were interviewed for their state FFA Degree. Maggie Fornoff was one of those seniors, and she has offered to share her experience.

“Although most FFA members don’t apply for their State Degree until they are a junior or senior, the State Degree Process begins as soon as you start your first job,” she said. “This is when you begin, or should begin, keeping records; these records should show the days that you worked, how long you worked and what you did. 

“I began my supervised agricultural experience (SAE) as a freshman at Jaycox Implement. Over the past three years I have put in many hours there and gained a lot of knowledge of about the business. As a senior my earnings exceeded the minimum of $2,000 needed to earn a State Degree, so I began to fill out my application. In the application you must provide examples of your involvement in the FFA, have financial records that support what you have earned and a detailed list of competencies you have gained from your SAE.”

“After submitting your application, you must complete an interview, organized by the Region FFA, which will cover topics from your application. At times the State Degree application can seem like a long process, but the results of FFA members hard work is shown at the State Convention when State Degree recipients are invited to walk across the stage to receive their rewards.” 

Agriculture is the nation’s largest employer, with more than 22 million people working in some phase. FFA prepares members for more than 300 careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. Encourage young people to become involved with FFA. The opportunities are endless.

Deb Martin is an agriculture teacher is District 518 and the FFA advisor.

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