In case you missed hearing about it, it's National FFA Week this week and there are a lot of things going on to celebrate it.
National FFA Week started in 1948 and is celebrated with Saturday to Saturday activities during the week that encompasses Feb. 22 in honor of George Washington's legacy as a farmer and agriculturist.
FFA started as a way to help prepare future generations for the job of growing food for a growing population. It celebrates 86 years of service this year and has changed into an organization that is about much more than planting, growing and harvesting.
Today's FFA is also about science, business and leadership. Members progress to careers as biologists, chemists, veterinarians, engineers and entrepreneurs, and the change of the name from "Future Farmers of America" to simply FFA reflects that.
National FFA Week is sponsored by Tractor Supply Co., National FFA Week activities can be followed on Twitter at #FFAweek.
During the week, FFA chapters plan to host parties in appreciation of their agriculture teachers and FFA advisors. Members will host local farmers' markets, visit elementary and middle schools to talk about FFA and agricultural education, complete community-service projects, participate in spirit days at their schools to promote agricultural education and much more.
A round-up of some planned National FFA Week activities:
- Through Sunday, participating Tractor Supply Co. stores encourage customers to donate $1 at checkout to support FFA. Donations will fund $1,000 scholarships for FFA members while 10 percent will support state FFA association programs. Last year, Tractor Supply raised more than $362,000 in 45 states to provide 284 scholarships for FFA members to use for college.
- The National FFA Organization is hosting a reception Tuesday at the National FFA Center in Indianapolis. Scheduled to attend are Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard; Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Ted McKinney; Ginny Cain, central Indiana regional director for U.S. Sen. Dan Coats; Chris Ready, director of U.S. and Canada food animal marketing for Elanco; and Ethan McNeely, Indiana FFA state officer and Southern Region vice president.
- The Northwestern Clark FFA chapter in Ohio is having a "felfie" contest – members will take "selfie" photos with a farm animal of their choice and post on Twitter using #nefelfie.
- Valders FFA chapter in Wisconsin is hosting a canned food drive during National FFA Week. In its first year last year, the drive resulted in more than 800 cans of food being donated to a local food bank.
- The Jackson County Central and Southwest Star Concept FFA chapters in Minnesota will celebrate National FFA Week will host an FFA Barnyard in the high school's agricultural shop class. Local day care and preschool students and kindergarten through second-grade students can visit chickens, pigs, calves and rabbits while learning about farm safety.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.