Local FFA chapters represent a national movement

ADDISON COUNTY — The FFA chapters in Vergennes and Middlebury, Vt., are celebrating National FFA Week, Feb. 21-28. This year’s theme is “Go All Out!” and it embraces more than 80 years of FFA traditions while looking forward to the organization’s future.
FFA (formally Future Farmers of America) is a national organization founded by a group of young farmers back in 1928. The FFA helps young people develop career, leadership and life skills through agricultural education.
Today agriculture is more than planting and harvesting — it’s a science, it’s a business and it’s an art.
The national FFA Foundation in Indianapolis reports that more than half a million members will participate in National FFA Week activities at local, state and national levels. These members have a passion for agriculture.
Designated as National FFA Week in 1947, the week of George Washington’s birthday is FFA Week, and runs from Saturday to Saturday. FFA Week gives FFA members an opportunity to educate the public about agriculture. During the week, chapters conduct a variety of activities to help others in their school and community learn about FFA and agricultural education.
Today’s FFA members are the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. Through agricultural and hands-on learning, they are preparing for more than 300 career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industry.
Locally here in Addison County, FFA members are typically students enrolled in agricultural courses such as the Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources; Diesel Power Technology; Mechanical Science; or Plant/Animal Science programs at the Hannaford Career Center or Vergennes Union High School.
Students have the opportunity to compete in career development events, also known as CDEs, with other FFA members from around the state. FFA teams that win these events are eligible to travel to the National FFA Conference in Indiana representing Vermont to compete against teams from the other states.
This year the Hannaford Career Center Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources class attended the Vermont Farm Show in late January. The Middlebury FFA forestry team placed first out of a field of 12 competing schools and will travel to nationals in the fall. Students are currently preparing for competitions to be held May 4 at Shelburne Farms, in the areas of Dairy and Horse Judging, Farm Business and Mechanics.

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