1917-1935: The Birth of FFA

1917

The Smith-Hughes Act passes, promoting vocational agricultural education in high schools. 

Smith-Hughes Act

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Click through to read the full text of the Smith-Hughes Act. 

Charter of the Future Farmers of Virginia

Charter of the Weyers Gave Chapter of the Future Farmers of Virginia, 1927

1925

The Future Farmers of Virginia is founded and would later serve as the model for the Future Farmers of America.

National Congress of Vocational Agricultural Students

On front of photograph: Officials, Judges and Judging Teams First National Congress of Vocational Agricultural Students in connection with American Royal Live Stock Show. Kansas City, MO. Nov. 13-20, 1926. 

1926

The American Royal Livestock Show invites vocational agriculture students to participate in National Livestock Judging Contests in Kansas City, Missouri.

Dinner for Official Judging Teams

On front of photograph: Dinner for members of official judging teams, Hotel Baltimore, Nov. 20th, 1928. 

1928

During the National Livestock Judging Contests, 33 students from 18 states establish the Future Farmers of America to provide leadership training for farm boys.

During this first annual convention, Leslie Applegate is elected president and dues are set at 10 cents annually. The National Convention was held in Kansas City from 1928-1998.

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All FFA Convention Proceedings are digitized and available online

Article about the Future Farmers of America from the Kansas City Star, 1929

An article in the Kansas City Star in April 1929 documents the rapid growth of FFA. 

1930

At the 3rd National Convention, the issue of membership was clarified when the constitution was amended restricting membership to boys only under Article III, Section B.  Girls were restricted to activities only at the state and local levels in the years following this decision.

The official creed and colors - national blue and corn gold - are adopted.  The creed, written by E. M. Tiffany, has been amended three times but still retains its original basic tenants.

  

Original FFA Creed

Original FFA creed from 1931

The First FFA Jackets

The first jackets, 1933

1933

Fredericktown, Ohio, FFA members arrive at the National Convention in blue corduroy jackets with the FFA emblem on the back. J.H. (Gus) Lintner, director of the Fredericktown, Ohio FFA Band had the jackets designed as a uniform for his band members. Official delegates vote to adopt the jacket as the organization's official dress.  

Instruction on the proper wearing of the FFA jacket

The jacket would become an important symbol of FFA membership, here is an illustration in its proper wearing from 1965.

1934

The first FFA Day is celebrated.  FFA Day was celebrated during the National Convention until 1948 when it became FFA Week and moved to the week of George Washington’s birthday.

Poster for National FFA Week

A poster celebrating National FFA Week

Creed of the New Farmers of America

Creed of the New Farmers of America

1935

The New Farmers of America (NFA) is organized for African-American agriculture students. It, like the FFA, was sponsored by the United States Office of Education and paralleled the FFA's programs and activities to the point that they offered many of the same programs under different names until the end of legal segregation. 

1917-1935: The Birth of FFA