FFA is the organization of, by and for students enrolled in agricultural education programs.
The National FFA Organization is an integral part of the organized instructional programs in agricultural education, which prepare students for a wide range of careers in agriculture, agribusiness and other agriculture-related occupations. FFA is structured on three levels—local, state and national. The National FFA Organization is led by a board of directors and six student national officers. Together, they act on recommendations from the national convention delegates and agricultural education’s stakeholders to set the vision and policy for FFA.
Just like chapter officers at the local level, the national officers represent the members and actively guide the course of the organization during their year of service. A president, secretary and four regional vice presidents are elected each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo.
The National FFA Organization is a research and support organization that does not select, control or supervise state FFA association, local chapter or individual member activities. Educational materials are developed by FFA in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education as a service to state and local agricultural education agencies.
National FFA Constitution and Bylaws
The National FFA Constitution and Bylaws provide the founding principles, authority, objectives and procedures of the National FFA Organization.
State associations function within the constitution of the national organization but may also create individual leadership, award and competition programs. Chapters are chartered through their state organizations.
Proposed amendments to the National FFA Constitution and Bylaws may be submitted by a state FFA association, the board of student officers or the National FFA Board of Directors. Proposed amendments from a state FFA association must be submitted in writing to the national organization by January 1 for review by the National FFA Board of Directors. All proposed amendments to the National FFA Constitution and Bylaws must be submitted by the national advisor to the state FFA associations by March 1. The board of student officers shall present their recommendations concerning each amendment to the delegates at the national convention.
An amendment to the National FFA Constitution may be adopted by a two-thirds vote of the official delegates at the National FFA Convention. An amendment to the bylaws shall require a majority vote of the official delegates at the national FFA convention. Amendments to the bylaws must not conflict with the National FFA Constitution.
National FFA Federal Charter & Public Law
In 1950, the 81st Congress of the United States, recognizing the importance of FFA as an integral part of the program of vocational agriculture, granted a federal charter to FFA. Congressional supporters believed a charter would give legal stability to the organization, protect the name and emblem and clarify the relationship between FFA and the Office of Education.
Over the years, the federal charter has served to publicly tie FFA and school-based agricultural education to the national priority of maintaining a safe and abundant food supply while protecting our natural resources. The role of education in securing a skilled, sustainable workforce in agriculture is underscored through the leadership provided by the U.S. Department of Education on the National FFA Board of Directors. The charter also provided federal authority to create an interagency working agreement between the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture focused on strengthening FFA and school-based agricultural education.
Today, the federal charter clarifies the purposes of the organization and ensures the “student voice” is incorporated into the organization’s administration through the leadership provided by FFA members on the national level; supports the engagement of business and industry; and promotes the development of productive citizens. It provides the foundation that makes FFA an integral part of the 3-Component Model of School-Based Agricultural Education.
In 1998, the 105th Congress of the United States reviewed and passed technical amendments. These revisions are now expressed in the organization’s current charter known as Public Law 105-225 (formerly Public Law 81-740).
Charter Revision and Constitution/Bylaws Task Force
National FFA is currently seeking to revise the National FFA Federal Charter through the legislative process. The need for change originates with issues National FFA has faced with seats left open by the U.S. Department of Education on the National FFA Board of Directors. Two board seats remain unfilled currently after numerous rejections by the Department.
In light of the difficulties, both FFA and the Department have agreed the relationship as it stands is not working optimally and needs to be addressed via the FFA federal charter. While opening up the document for revisions, FFA has also chosen to finally add language that confirms the integral nature of FFA in the agricultural education classroom. The charter revision will increase the value of an FFA component of an agricultural education department because the federal charter, for the first time, will put into law the great importance of the three-circle model when it comes to educating young people in this area.
National FFA has engaged state leaders, agricultural education stakeholders and teachers in the process of developing a revised charter.
The charter revision, once passed, would require amendments to the National FFA Constitution and Bylaws. A task force was established by the National FFA Board of Directors during its May 2018 meeting to ensure the constitution and bylaws are in harmony with the amended charter. Additionally, the group is identifying areas that it feels require revision and review as FFA grows into the 21st century.
Any changes to the National FFA Constitution and Bylaws requires approval by the delegates to the National FFA Convention & Expo.
During its May 2018 meeting, the National FFA Board of Directors called for a special task force to meet and consider revisions to the National FFA Constitution and Bylaws.
A new bill amending the federal charter of the National FFA Organization is now working its way through Congress.
Wednesday morning was big for FFA members in the nation's capitol.