FFA: Future Farmers of America

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 8:56 PM CST
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(25 NEWS) - The future of agriculture is looking bright. Let’s learn more about the national FFA organization in education with Illinois FFA’s Mindy Bunselmeyer.

Illinois FFA was started in 1929 as Future Farmers of America and of course we have evolved as an organization that the letters FFA still embrace Future Farmers of America but we just use the letters FFA as it is an organization that aligns with
agricultural education in high school programs all around the state of Illinois.

In Illinois, we have 359 schools that offer ag education and those students that are involved in that are members of FFA.

They have converted so many pieces of what they were traditionally doing to the virtual option -- we had virtual contests, we had virtual events and they were reaching out to the communities in ways that they had never reached out before and they were embracing supplying food to food banks and reaching out to communities to find out what can we do to help out in these times and just like FFA chapters have done for years they continue to serve their communities in those ways.

Only 9% of our entire membership -- and that’s over 22,000 kids -- only 9% of those students are actually coming from farms. The rest of those kids are coming from towns, cities and urban areas and those students are embracing opportunities in food science and agriculture research and I will say that our FFA members -- they are our future teachers, they are our future leaders, they are future biochemists, they are future researchers, they are future politicians -- at least we hope because we know they’ve got the leadership skills and they care about their community in the ways that we know will be impactful for the future and that’s one of the greatest things about ag education is it really does teach from the farm to the fork, it really does follow the products that are produced on the farm and how they become processed and as those commodities are processed, what food they become when they’re sitting on our table and you know students can find a career path in so many ways in those aspects even a student who’s maybe their skill set is arts and they like graphic design there’s a place for them in agriculture cause those food companies they need that and they want that too because they want to market to the consumers and the best way possible.

Any time I can talk about agricultural education and FFA and how it’s impacting young people how it’s changing their lives how is paving the way for their future it’s giving them viable career options.

Any time I can talk about that it’s an absolute pleasure.

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