2019 marks 50 years since women were granted full membership in FFA. FFA New Horizons asked the 2018-19 National FFA Officer Team about why it’s important that FFA continues to create an environment where all members are welcome and feel comfortable contributing.
FFA has been around for over 90 years. During that time, our country and world have changed dramatically. From advancements in technology to changing demographics, FFA must continue to accept any and all unique perspectives to continue to remain not only relevant but also powerful in its impact on students’ lives. FFA is a home. It is a space where students can be comfortable being who they are while being challenged to grow. We are leaders. Leaders who identify with all races, with all genders, with LGBTQ+ and more. We are FFA.
– Luke O’Leary, National FFA President
FFA will continue to evolve, just like agriculture. When we create a culture where all ideas and opinions are welcome, collaboration and innovation grow. I hope to see a continual progression in our organization where everyone is welcome no matter their background, lifestyle or identity. As I’ve heard many times before, it’s important that everyone has a seat at the table in agriculture and in FFA, because different voices and perspectives truly unlock a group’s ability to spark positive change.
– Layni LeBlanc. National FFA Secretary
It is so important to create an environment where all members are welcome because, if I have learned anything, it is that agriculture affects everyone. Agriculture speaks all languages, it recognizes all backgrounds and it makes our entire world continue forward. Without it, we would have nothing. Every student deserves a place to belong, and what better place is there than FFA? Everyone is capable and responsible when it comes to learning about the agriculture industry.
– Jordan Stowe, Southern Region Vice President
Our organization’s culture is built upon personal growth. However, in order for people to grow, I believe they must first be accepted and encouraged for who they already are. If we would like to continue to build a culture of growth in our organization, we must continue authentically welcoming others. If we cannot be real with who we are, then we cannot achieve real growth beside the people around us.
– Adrian Schunk, Eastern Region Vice President
Agriculture’s landscape is ever changing. As FFA grows and expands, so does the need to ensure that all voices are heard in our pursuit of progress as an organization. Whether you’re a multigenerational farmer or rancher, or someone with no background in agriculture, we need every individual to play a role in sharing perspectives and furthering FFA. Let’s listen to understand, not just respond.
– Ridge Hughbanks, Central Region Vice President
An inclusive and open environment is critical to the success of FFA – not only as an agricultural leadership organization, but also as an organization that focuses on preparing youth for lifelong learning and development. It doesn’t matter where members live, what they drive or the price tag on their clothes. It’s the drive, passion and character that members bring to the table that make a difference.
– Shea Booster, Western Region Vice President