The National FFA Organization is a huge student-led organization. For such an upstanding and well-known organization there have been things that have come into existence that sets this organization apart from others. Some of the things that are unique with the FFA is a mission statement, a motto, a creed, an emblem, a system of leadership, and levels of awards. While other organizations may have some of these, or all of them, FFA’s are well known and the knowledge of each one of these is a requirement for the first degree awarded in the FFA: the greenhand degree. Right now, below is just a list, but hopefully by the end of this lesson you will know the meaning each one of the objects listed means to the organization and its members.
The FFA emblem
In 1928 when the organization hosted its first national convention they adopted the first FFA emblem. The emblem has changed many times throughout its history. Looking at the most current edition there are six major components to the FFA emblem. These parts each have a unique meaning and representation. These parts are:
The Rising Sun:
Just like opening ceremony says “The rising sun is a token of a new era in agriculture.” this is partially the meaning for the rising sun in the FFA emblem. The rising sun also represents a new day. In the agricultural industry, there are some days that are rough and a farmer may say “Tomorrow is a new day.” The rising sun has many meanings but the final one is to represent innovation and the agriculture industry moving forward and growing.
The Plow: The plow represents the tradition and hard work of the agriculturalist that took place many years ago. In today’s world agriculturalist have technology that those of past generations would have never dreamed of. Another meaning for the plow is the National FFA organizations, and the United States background in agriculture.
Ear of Corn: The ear of corn represents unity. The reason it stands for unity is corn is grown in every state. Just like the secretary states in opening ceremony “wherever corn is grown and FFA members meet,” it stands for a commodity that stands tall in all 50 states.
Eagle: The Eagle stands for the patriotic symbol of American freedom. The freedom has given us the opportunity to pursue a future of agriculture or any career path we see sit.
Owl: The Owl is a symbol of knowledge and wisdom. Whether that comes from advisors or past agriculturalists it is important to learn from the mistakes and successes of the past. Wisdom and knowledge is the best guide to future endeavors and innovations.
Letters: While the words used to state “vocational agriculture” the most current emblem has the words “agricultural education.” The words stand for progressive agricultural education, and that students learn more than agriculture, they develop leadership skills.
The colors were inspired by the American royals livestock show in 1928. During this livestock show was when 33 American farm boys created the Future Farmers of America club.
National Blue: The blue comes from the blue in the American flag
Corn Gold: The gold symbolizes the gold fields throughout the country that grow corn.
Motto: Learning to do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve
Program of Activities also known as POA, is the planning for activities for a chapter to do throughout the year. Each activity that a chapter does should fall under one of the three categories: student development, chapter development, and community development. Each one of the categories has quality standards that the activity should fall under. These quality standards and categories are essential and major part of the National Chapter award that chapters have the opportunity to fill out each year.
*The following are from “The Official FFA Student Handbook”*
Student Development Quality Standards
Leadership, Healthy Lifestyle, Career Success, Scholarship, Personal Growth
Chapter Development Quality Standards
Chapter recruitment, Financial, Public Relations, Cooperation, Support Group
Community Development Quality Standards
Economic Development, Environmental and Natural Resources, Human Resources, Citizenship, Agricultural Promotion
To find more information on the program of activities click here and go to page 43.
Many FFA members have the opportunity to hold leadership positions. Whether that be a committee member, leadership conference attendee, or an officer on the chapter, district/federation, regional/area, state, or national level. Ever member that wears the blue jacket is a leader. Some members have a small title under their name on their jacket though. This does not mean that they hold power over the members, an officers job is to serve their members. In the FFA there are 6 traditional officer positions. As you can see in the photo there are more than 6 positions. Some chapters have even more than those shown below. Here is a list of where each one of the 6 traditional officer positions are stationed.
President- stationed by the rising sun
Vice-President- stationed by the plow
Secretary- stationed by the ear of corn
Treasurer- stationed by the emblem of Washington
Reporter- stationed by the flag
Sentinel- stationed by the door
Advisor- stationed by the owl
Click here to read the descriptions of each position.
While this lesson may have just been a few facts about the organization, it is still important to know the structure and reasons behind some of the things in the organization. Still to cover before getting into the agricultural part of the series is leadership skills, speaking tips, parliamentary procedure, and award opportunities through the FFA.
Vice President and Editor for Everything Agriculture