The early days of organizing youth who would grow up to be farmers, ranchers or agriculturally related to the world of farming; such as soil experts or chemists seems to have gotten a foothold in Virginia first. Some organizing began as early as 1925, but by 1927 they were formally organized. In 1928 it went national and the Future Farmers of America had been a part of the youth club movement ever since, and they are still going strong today.
Also in Virginia in 1927 was the beginning of the New Farmers of America, a similar group for students in segregated schools. It took a little longer for it to go national and for a long time was not related to the FFA or controlled by the Department of Education, as was the FFA. Each state ran its own NFA chapters, then slowly there was regional cooperation and unifying of club matters. In later years the NFA adopted similar logo to the FFA, using a cotton boll instead of an ear of corn, and ran its program very close to the way the FFA was run.
Both groups promoted scientific improvements for the farm though education, camaraderie, contests, and experience.
In 1952 NFA merchandise, such as jackets and ties, were being offered through the FFA's special catalog insert.
By the time both groups "merged" nationally in to just one group in 1965 - the FFA, many of the local FFA and NFA clubs had already merged. They didn't merge so much as the NFA simply no longer existed anymore.
Every year since 1964, at the yearly national FFA conventions, the vote to allow girls was struck down, until 1969.
The color/metal of the FFA pin has been significant; bronze was for the entry or first level of FFA, silver for the next level and gold for the final levels. Through the years the title attached to the level has changed. Although the pin design has remained fairly constant through the years there have been a few changes;
Emblem without the eagle and shield
Although the eagle & shield were officially added to the emblem design at the 1930 National Convention, it's likely this pin production continued longer, as this style of pin can be regularly found for sale. If it had only been available for 1928-1930, it would likely be harder to find.
Rounded edges on the corn row, sold for many years
Variation of pin as noted
Title change in1989
less realistic eagle, shield covers corn kernel, large sun
FFA level, not sloping
The FFA & NFA during World War II
Vintage FFA cap, age unknown.
Public speaking - an important skill, could be learned and developed at FFA and NFA. This skill could serve a lifetime.
Currently public speaking has 3 categories; Creed Speaking, Prepared Public Speaking and Extemporaneous Public Speaking.
FFA Silver Jubilee
Early metal FFA sign, issues of Future Farmer - the official publication of the FFA, National Convention Pennant, Silver Jubilee button and FFA postage stamp issued 1953.
FFA & NFA Jackets
Integration of FFA, the disappearance of NFA - 1965
Examples of FFA Proficiency Awards
Judging Contests were and are an important part of FFA
1969 - Girls can join too
Name Change in 1989, Vocational Agriculture to Agricultural Education
2000 - New FFA Degree Added
The Discovery Degree, for grades 7 and 8, was added in 2000. It is not available in all states.
Degrees in FFA: