FFA is one of the largest youth organizations in America. And each year, FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
“At the end of the day, I think FFA is such a solid foundation for Agriculture and developing its leaders and developing its Agricultural educators of tomorrow and developing the scientists of tomorrow, the biologists or whatever it may be,” said Seth Rekdal. “It’s very important for the field of Agriculture.”
For the past year, Rekdal of Shepherd has been serving as a Montana FFA Association state officer. The MSU-Bozeman sophomore says the experience has been all that he expected and more.
“Being able to be a state officer this year has been really amazing and there’s been so many things I wasn’t expecting,” said Rekdal. “I knew there would be growth out of this, but never did I think that I would learn so much about myself like who I am, how I lead and really how much I love FFA and Agriculture.”
Today, over 650,000 young men and women nationwide share Seth’s passion. Dr. Steve Brown is the National FFA Advisor and says membership continues to grow.
“We’ve been on a growth pattern for probably the past 10 years," Brown said. "I believe truly that students as well as parents are recognizing the value and importance of Agriculture to our economy and to our nation. Therefore, we see an increase of students interested in the Agriculture industry.”
But despite continued growth nationwide, a real challenge in the near future could be a shortage of Agricultural teachers.
“That influx of more students also means that we need more teachers and more schools are looking and saying we want to have an Agricultural education program and FFA chapter,” said Brown.
Montana currently has 94 FFA chapters statewide. Jim Rose is the State FFA Advisor and says there’s a good reason why Montana school district’s value Ag education.
“As a lot of these smaller places get bought out by some larger places we’re starting to lose a lot of connectivity to the Agriculture background and base,” said Rose. “I think a lot of those grandparents and parents are putting a lot of pressure on the local school districts and saying if we can’t keep our kids on farms and ranches then let’s provide some Agricultural education to them.”
Young people seeking careers in Ag education agree.
“I think FFA has really expanded my knowledge of Agriculture and how important it is and why we need good Agriculture education teachers to continue the tradition of developing strong leaders in the Agriculture industry,” said Rekdal.
To learn more about FFA or about becoming an Agricultural teacher, visit www.ffa.org.