By Noah Cagle
FFA is an intracurricular organization that has been teaching agricultural education since 1928. The letters originally stood for ‘Future Farmers of America’, but in 1988 the name was changed to National FFA Organization, as FFA was teaching students to be more than farmers. The letters were left in the name in order to keep them as apart of the organization’s history.
Students who join FFA learn leadership skills which can lead to receiving scholarship opportunities and building careers. According to ffa.org, “FFA also welcomes members who aspire to careers as teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners and more.”
WCHS FFA advisor Hannah Goeb said that FFA teaches students leadership through agriculture.
“FFA is a leadership organization that bases its experiences on agricultural education. It’s a common misconception that you have to live on a farm or have some background knowledge in agriculture. That is just simply not true!” Goeb said.
In order to be enrolled in FFA, students take agricultural classes at C9 or take agricultural classes at WCHS. Goeb teaches Intro to Agriculture, Animal Science and Agribusiness Management.
“All students that are enrolled in my classes receive automatic FFA membership. If you want to be in FFA, just sign up for one of my classes next year,” Goeb said, “Any student who has an interest in building their resume with leadership experiences, working as a team, and learning new things would definitely enjoy FFA!”
Junior Collin Overfelt takes Goeb’s Food Science and Advanced Life Science classes, and he said that FFA is much more than just farming.
“There’s a lot of things that go into FFA, and there is a lot of agricultural stuff. We just did a unit on soils and testing soils, seeing if it drains well. Also what type of soil it is. We look at bugs, we’re looking at entomology right now.” Overfelt said, “Later on in the year we’re going to be doing mechanic stuff with agricultural equipment. There’s a whole bunch of things to do in FFA; it’s not just limited to farming.”
Goeb says that students go to meetings and take part in local activities in FFA. Goeb says these activities teach students leadership skills.
“Students attend leadership conventions, participate in career development contests, and do local community service projects,” Goeb said.
Since 2006, the National FFA Convention has been held in Indianapolis. In 2013 the expo welcomed 16,000 visitors. Overfelt says that the conventions are about getting information and advice from experienced FFA members.
“At the conventions we listen to a lot of other people talk. They’re people who have been in FFA a long time, and have had a lot of past experience, and we listen to what advice they have, being a leader in FFA and what you could possibly do in the future,” Overfelt said.
Overfelt also gave examples of local leadership activities that Whiteland FFA members take part in.
“[FFA is] really a good opportunity to be more involved in the community, like we did that parade at the Whiteland community day.” Overfelt said.
FFA brings opportunities to students to develop agricultural-based skills and allows students to get involved with the people and communities they live in. Anyone interested in FFA needs to add one of Goeb’s or C9’s classes to their school schedule.