New Farmers of America: NFA History and Milestones


The New Farmers of America (NFA) was organized in Virginia in 1927 and became a national organization for African-American young men in 1935. The organization was formed to serve agriculture students in southern states where schools were segregated by law. Much like the National FFA Organization (FFA), NFA sought to provide young men with vocational, social and recreational activities in order to develop their skills in public speaking, leadership and agricultural trades.

NFA began as the vision of three men:

  • Dr. H. O. Sargent, Federal Agent for Agricultural Education, U.S. Office of Education
  • George Washington Owens, Teacher Trainer, Virginia State College, and the “Father of NFA”
  • J.R. Thomas, Teacher Trainer, Virginia State College



1927—NFA, comprised of African American agricultural students, is created in Virginia

1928—First sectional gathering of NFA members is held at Virginia State College

1935—NFA holds its first national convention at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama

1939—The “H.O. Sargent Trophy Award” is created to honor H.O. Sargent’s commitment to helping NFA members achieve success and leadership in agriculture

1951—NFA flag is adopted

1958—The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis presents NFA with a Certificate of Appreciation

1963—NFA membership peaks with 58,132 active members

1965—NFA, and other students enrolled in historically Black schools, merge with FFA. Through that integration, FFA added the talents of 52,000 NFA members to its 454,000-member roster. FFA became a national organization open to everyone regardless of race, ethnic origin or religion.