National Farm Youth Foundation

    Little remembered, the National Farm Youth Foundation was the brain-child of none other than Henry Ford. It was launched in May of 1940. The program was nationally sponsored by the  Ferguson-Sherman Manufacturing Corp. of Dearborn, MI. It was for young farm men between the ages of 18-28, or 17-26 depending on the source. The program was also sponsored locally by local Ford dealerships or farm implement companies.

     The program was delivered as a home-study course through a book called "Farm Engineering and Management" provided by the LaSalle Extension University of Chicago. The hope was that this would encourage a modern, up-to-date scientific approach to farming. Local contests were sponsored such as tractor pulls and plowing demonstrations. Monthly meetings were also part of the program.

   The second year of the program brought another study course, on the mechanics and care of farm equipment, and the addition of "lady-farmers."

    The program lasted from May 1940 until around the autumn of 1942. By then its focus had shifted to the very real need of feeding a nation for victory. Its demise may have been due to America's entry into the war. There doesn't seem to be an official end date, just that the program didn't restart the following year.

   The term "farm youth foundation" was used locally over the years, but did not seem to be a part of this program - just using the term. 

    There are two known pins, that are just about the only things that remain from the program; regular National Farm Youth Foundation pin and a Junior Advisor version that looks very similar.  

An example of National Farm Youth Foundation pin



Example of the Junior Advisor version of the pin.

Pretty farmers on tractors were a popular image in the newspapers


Contests were common...

and winners were thrilled.