Fri, Nov. 15

Future Farmers of America turns 75

Staff photo by Carol Keefer

AMANDA Hunton (front) was awarded the State FFA Degree at the 74th State FFA Leadership Conference in Tucson June 5-7. From left (seen during the school year): FFA leader Heather Scott, Reid Brooks (sentinel); Dani Brandenburg (secretary); Marvin Marquez (reporter); Brenda Miller (president); Amanda Hunton (vice president); Brad Elmer; Cody Ricketts; and Dan Zellner.

It's hard to believe, but the Future Farmers of America is 75 years old; it started in 1928 with 33 farm boys and today is a half-million strong. Its continued focus? To bring students, teachers and those in the agribusiness together to support agricultural education.

FFA officially celebrated its birthday at its last national convention, but it's not too late to give a congratulatory slap on the back to those involved in this worthwhile program.

"It's how to prepare for life, it teaches leadership," says Agriculture Science High School teacher Heather Scott.

Scott has been building the FFA program at Camp Verde High School. Scott has a degree in Animal Science and Production and a master's degree in Agriculture Education teaching biology, physical science and agriculture.

Those close to FFA, like Scott, look at FFA as much more than raising farm animals.

Trapper Moore, who was actively involved and fought to keep FFA alive while in school and who now works at the Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce, agrees.

"It teaches camaraderie and how to work with the community." It encourages people with varying goals to put aside their differences, he said. For him, he notes, it "orchestrated leadership development" and taught him that raising livestock is real business and commitment. "It makes us appreciate our investment," he said.

CV Vice Mayor John Reddell was in FFA growing up in Scottsdale from the years of 1949-53.

"I'm a strong supporter of FFA," he states emphatically.

He said he was an FFA officer and showed swine through all four high school years and a cotton crop his senior year. He said he not only learned about animals and crops but also welding, farming fundamentals, mechanics and most importantly public speaking. He said the skills he learned through FFA and by attending conventions helped him in both the classroom and on into adulthood.

Scott stresses that FFA continues its commitment to the individual student, providing a path of achievement in leadership, personal growth and career success considered by some to be a great stepping stone to an amazing variety of technical and scientific careers. She says about 75 percent of her classes are now involved in the FFA program that emphasizes "student success," FFA's national theme. "They need to be successful whether in livestock production or plant production or leadership," she said.

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