This week, agricultural students from across the country will travel to Indianapolis to attend and compete at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo.
For some, this will be the first time experiencing the sea of blue corduroy jackets, and they’ll be impressed and inspired by the electricity of this national event.
For others, this is the last ride to Indiana, where they are putting everything on the line competing in contests and trying to win scholarships to close out their FFA careers.
For advisors, this is a chance to show kids in person what they talk about so often in the classroom.
For parent chaperones, this is an opportunity to coach and mentor chapter members, offering encouragement along the journey.
For sponsors, this is a week to provide support to the next generation of food producers.
And for alumni, this is a reminder of good times gone by, memories made, friendships developed and life experiences earned that have paved the way to our future careers in agriculture.
On a related note, last week, I wrote a blog post with tips for agricultural youth as they prepare for upcoming FFA, 4-H contests or scholarship/job interviews.
In honor of this week’s National FFA Convention, I want to share two recent articles that celebrate the talented people who have worn the iconic corduroy blue jackets.
First, RFDTV shares a really great story titled, “The history of the blue FFA jacket.’
Here is an excerpt: “According to the FFA website, agricultural educator J.H. (Gus) Lintner commissioned a jacket for members of the local FFA chapter to wear to the 1933 National FFA Convention in Kansas City, Mo., as part of their FFA band uniform. The iconic blue and gold design was so popular that it was adopted as the Official Dress of FFA members.
“Litner said he wanted a uniform that provided outside coverage but also had use on the farm. One day on his way home from school he saw a blue corduroy jacket with a bulldog on the back and thought ‘why couldn't we do the same thing for FFA?’
“Litner then wrote to the manufacturer who made the bulldog jacket and one week later the pair met in Fredericktown and Litner himself later purchased the first-ever FFA jacket for $5.50.”
Second, here is an amazing read titled, “105-year old former FFA officer dons famous jacket.”
As reported by Jean Caspers-Simmett for Iowa Farmer Today, “Hassman was Iowa FFA first vice president in 1934-35. Iowa’s first FFA chapters had just formed in 1929, with New Hampton organizing in 1931. Hassman received his Iowa FFA Degree in 1933, New Hampton’s first.
“Hassman offered this advice to FFA members: ‘Whatever you’re doing, apply yourself and work on it. It’s part of our responsibility to help those who need some help. Be a good neighbor and friend. Don’t be selfish and think too much of yourself.’”
Do you have a favorite memory from your FFA years? I would love to hear it! Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.