The National FFA Organization reports a banner year in 2006 with a successful inaugural 79th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, new community partnerships with a first-ever National Day of Service and plans for a $3.5 million expansion to house the FFA Merchandise Operations Division opening by mid-year 2007.
"We are positioning ourselves to grow and help support the expansion of agricultural education and FFA chapters nationwide," says Doug Loudenslager, chief operating officer for the organization. "We hope to see the current 7,242 FFA chapters grow to 10,000 chapters by 2015."
FFA has 495,046 members from 12 to 21 years old in 7,242 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For 2006, the organization he a 28-year membership high, and 38% of FFA members are female, with women holding more than 50% of state leadership positions.
The group gets support from 11,000 FFA advisers and agriculture teachers that deliver an integrated model of agricultural education offering students what FFA calls an "innovative and leading-edge education." FFA classroom activities include math and science as well as hands-on work experience and the development of life skills.
Other 2006 highlights include:
* Hosting 54,489 members, advisers and supports for the National FFA Convention.
* Featuring 370 exhibitors in 1,282 booth spaces in 128,200 square feet of show space.
* Rewarding American Degrees to a record 3,055 recipients.
* Announcing a $1 million sponsorship from Ford Motor Company for 2007.
* Garnering more than $12.2 million dollars for FFA and agricultural programs from 2,000 sponsors.
* Launching a new Web site to help teachers, parents and school leaders to get the most from FFA's new LifeKnowledge leadership curriculum at www.ffa.org/ageducators/lifeknowledge.
* Donating $835,699 from the FFA Seeds of Hope campaign to chapters in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Texas who sustained damage from the 2005 hurricanes.