Celebrating 50 Years of Women in FFA
It’s been 50 years since the 1969 National FFA Convention when women gained full, national membership in FFA.
In 1969 women were officially allowed membership into the National FFA Organization. In the 50 years since the formal acceptance of female membership, women have become an integral part of the organization. Women have achieved significant milestones, and they continue to shape the future of agricultural education and the industry of agriculture.
When opportunity knocked, Dr. Jim Knight didn’t answer. Later, he would become one of the strongest advocates for inclusion.
Historical Timeline of Women in FFA
1954 - Chapter Sweethearts
Prior to full membership, women were selected as “Chapter Sweethearts.” Here are Texas FFA sweetheart Martha Banks and Texas FFA president David Risinger in 1954.
1970 - First Female Delegates
New York’s Anita Decker and New Jersey’s Patricia Krowicki become the first two female delegates to the national convention.
Sharon Staley of the White River FFA Chapter in Washington models the first official girl’s FFA jacket.
1973 - American Farmer Degrees
First American Farmer Degrees are awarded to women in 1973.
1976 - Julie Smiley, Washington is elected national FFA vice president and is the first female to hold a national FFA office.
Julie Smiley from Washington is elected national FFA vice president and is the first female to hold a national FFA office.
1977-78 - National Officers Including Peg Armstrong, Iowa (back row, left)
The 1977-78 national officers included Peg Armstrong of Iowa (back row, left).
1979-80 - National Officers Included Elin Duckworth, Arizona
The 1979-80 national officers included Elin Duckworth of Arizona (back row, left).
Christe Peterson from Wisconsin wins the first Extemporaneous Public Speaking Event.
1980 - Horticulture Demonstration
Women members participate in a horticulture demonstration.
1982 - First Female National FFA President
Jan Eberly from California becomes the first female national FFA president.
1988 - 3 Millionth FFA Jacket
Evadale, Texas, member Chrystal McDaniel poses with the 3 millionth FFA jacket.
2002 - Karlene Lindow, Named the American Star Farmer
Karlene Lindow shattered another glass ceiling for women in FFA in 2002 when she was named the American Star Farmer. She raised hogs in Chili, Wis., and her jacket now hangs in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
2017 - Breanna Holbert from California is the first African-American female to be elected national FFA president.
Breanna Holbert from California is the first African-American female to be elected national FFA president.