The moment Jay Vroom decided to join FFA was the moment that set the course for the rest of his life. He just didn’t know what that course would look like at the time.
“I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the summer between seventh and eighth grade, and my vo-ag teacher came to visit me. He laid out a plan for the rest of my life, which included joining FFA and going to the University of Illinois and having a major related to ag. I remember him looking me in the eye and saying, ‘if you do this, life will be great.’”
Vroom says his teacher was right —and to this day, he has been paying it forward to help other FFA members lead great lives. He worked on his leadership skills in high school and then served as an Illinois state FFA officer while he was studying at the University of Illinois. He now serves on the National FFA Foundation’s Individual Giving Council and is the immediate past chairman of the council.
“I’ve felt a need to give back since I graduated from high school,” Vroom says. “I served as a state officer my first
year as an undergraduate, and it only reinforced the idea that FFA meant a lot not only to me but so many others.”
Vroom has spent his entire career working in agriculture and recently retired as the president and CEO of CropLife America after 30 years. His career has shown him the importance of supporting agricultural education, he says. Since 1992, he has made annual contributions to the National FFA Foundation.
“It is critically important for us to maintain the best and brightest in FFA because that is the talent pipeline to ensure American agriculture remains strong,” Vroom says.
Vroom makes it a priority to encourage others to support students who were just like him when he first joined.
“In addition to financial support, we need the hearts and minds of alumni and friends of FFA to help support the future of agriculture,” Vroom said. “FFA is essential for staying ahead of the curve and helping our future generations stay grounded in the foundations that make up agriculture. The way of life has changed since I was a student, but what goes on in FFA and ag classrooms has stayed the same.”