National FFA Organization

Founded in 1928 as the Future Farmers of America (FFA), FFA brought together students, educators and industry to prepare a new generation for agriculture. Renamed FFA in 1988, the organization continues to help young leaders rise up to meet the challenges of feeding a hungry world by preparing its members to develop their unique talents and explore personal interests across a broad range of career pathways in agriculture. 

FFA evolved in response to expanded opportunities in agriculture and the need for skilled and competent employees in more than 300 careers. The organization helps students prepare for careers in areas such as business, marketing, science, communications, education, horticulture, production, forestry, and many others. 

The National FFA Organization just achieved an all-time high membership of 629,367 students ages 12-21 in 7,757 chapters across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than 11,000 agricultural educators nationwide, many of whom also serve as local FFA advisors, deliver an integrated agricultural education program that combines inquiry-based classroom and laboratory instruction, real world experiential learning and interpersonal development through FFA leadership and career programs that test students; agricultural skill development and recognize achievement. 

Students enrolled in school-based agricultural education, which the National FFA Organization is a component of, receive contextual, inquiry-based instruction in a classroom, laboratory, greenhouse, or outdoor setting. Interactive classrooms, laboratory instruction and learning may include units based on natural and social sciences such as environmental science, agribusiness, natural resources, aquaculture, food science and safety, animal and plant sciences, entrepreneurship and many other career options. 

Students enrolled in these courses or career pathways have the unique opportunity to apply core content concepts in an agriculturally related context. For example, when using STEM, a student learning about hydrogen and covalent bonding in chemistry is able to apply these concepts when examining the chemistry of food processing. By enhancing their core content knowledge base with the agriculture, food, and natural resources career cluster, students gain real world, hands-on experiences that enhance college and career readiness. 

Innovative Employer-Driven Pathways 

Agriculture, like many other fields, has seen an explosion of STEM that is revolutionizing how food, fiber, and fuel are produced. With its membership on the STEM Food and Ag Council and the STEM Higher Education Council, FFA is strengthening STEM connections, resources and initiatives to advance the organization’s mission. 

Through postsecondary partnerships with land-grant universities and two- and four-year institutions, FFA helps students achieve career success by preparing them for the next steps in education and successful careers in the food and agriculture industry. Not only does this produce talented individuals for industry, these partnerships help ensure highly qualified and motivated teachers are available to teach future generations of school-based agricultural education students. 

FFA and agricultural education offer a compelling value proposition to industry through a time-tested, proven model of attracting students to the field of agriculture from rural, urban, and suburban settings. FFA helps recruit students to agriculture at an age when they can still shape their educational and career paths. The program offers industry access to a deep pool of talent to fill its human resource needs. The hands-on, experiential learning in the classroom, combined with the leadership and career skill development programs of FFA, helps students discover their talents, explore careers and maximize what they gain from their time in education. These young leaders are developing skills that make them solidly college and career ready. These will be the workers, managers, and leaders we must have for agriculture to grow. 

Key STEM Program 

The National FFA Agriscience Fair is a competition for FFA members who are interested in the science and technology of agriculture. It is held each year during the National FFA Convention & Expo. In order to qualify to compete in the National FFA Agriscience Fair, students must first compete at the state level. State winning students and teams are forwarded to National FFA. Applications must be postmarked by July 15. These applications undergo a judging process to determine who will compete at the National FFA Convention and Expo. A maximum of 15 projects are invited to compete at the national FFA convention & expo. At the national FFA convention & expo, students put up a display showcasing their project and interview with a panel of judges. After all students have been interviewed, pre-convention judging scores are then combined with convention interview scores to calculate the ranking of projects within each category and division. Each participant is ranked gold, silver or bronze and receives a pin. The top three projects in each category and division are recognized for their efforts on the main stage. 

Agriscience Fair Categories 

  • Students can compete in the National Agriscience Fair in one of six categories: 
  • Animal Systems 
  • Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems 
  • Food Products and Processing Systems 
  • Plant Systems 
  • Power, Structural and Technical Systems 
  • Social Systems

 

Research area

Number of projects

Animal Systems

510

Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems

357

Food Products & Processing Systems

353

Plant Systems

530

Power, Structural & Technical Systems

235

Social Systems

285

TOTAL

2,270

 

Agriscience Fair Divisions 

Students can compete in the national Agriscience fair as an individual or in a team of two students. 

  • Division I – Individuals in grades 7, 8 and 9 
  • Division II – Individuals in grades 10, 11 and 12 
  • Division III – Teams in grades 7, 8 and 9 
  • Division IV – Teams in grades 10, 11 and 12 

 

Success and Impact: 

  • The 2015 National FFA Agriscience Fair program touched 44 associations 

Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) is a student developmental program that can be made up of multiple enterprises and activities, including research, entrepreneurial and/or placement enterprises, development of supplemental skills, learning activities and improvement projects impacting the student’s SAE, home, school or community. SAE is a required component of the total agricultural education program. Proficiency awards are an outgrowth of students’ SAE enterprises and recognize student skill development and career based competencies related to a particular award area. Proficiency award areas do not define supervised agriculture experience (SAE) programs, but provide recognitions to students exploring and/or becoming established in an agricultural career pathway. 

  • There are four categories for SAE programs. These include: exploratory, entrepreneurship, placement and research. The research SAE program is defined as involving planning and conducting an agricultural and scientific experiment based on hypothesis and the use of the scientific methods of investigation on the hypothesis. This may include qualitative, quantitative, experimental, descriptive and quasi-experimental research. 
  • There are a variety of proficiency award areas available for FFA members to apply, however there are three areas specifically designated for research based SAE programs. The Agriscience Research Proficiency is designed for those students actively engaged in agriscience research and experimentation. This includes students who are actively engaged in doing their own research individually as well as those students who may be cooperating on research projects with others including but not limited to teams in school, experiment stations or colleges/ universities. The student must be actively involved in the development of the experimental design, formulation of the hypothesis, collection of data, interpretation of the data and publicizing the results to be considered for an Agriscience research proficiency. 

The American Star in Agriscience is another opportunity for students actively engaged in agriscience research and experimentation. This award is for a student who is actively engaged in doing their own research individually, as well as for students who may be cooperating on research projects with others including but not limited to teams in school, experiment stations or colleges/ universities. The hypothesis may be formulated by the student or provided to them by a co-researcher. The student must be actively involved in the development of the experimental design, collection of data, interpretation of the data and publicizing the results to be considered for the American Star in Agriscience Award. Their program could be an entrepreneurship or placement type SAE program.

 

Communications and Social Media

Social media contact: Geoffrey Millerå

gmiller@ffa.org

317-802-4217

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nationalffa

Twitter page: https://twitter.com/nationalffa (@NationalFFA)

Hashtags:   #AmplifyFFA-General theme hashtag

#SpeakAg-Agricultural advocacy and literacy platform

 

Address: 
1410 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States
Phone: 
(703) 838-5889