You know some of the history, you have read and seen our awesome outfits! (Don’t lie, you really one one of those blue corduroy jackets!) But, what REALLY is FFA?
Well, I know this is cheesy, but FFA is a family 🙂 A family that has members all over the nation, and it is comprised of four parts.
1. Awesome and Inspiring People
2. Agriculture Education
3. Career Development Events (Competitions)
4. Supervised Agriculture Experiences (SAE)
The FFA is unique, because students must be enrolled in Ag Ed to become members of FFA. Then, they take classroom instruction, opportunities in FFA, and SAE’s or work based learning, to cultivate students who are leaders and who are ready to go to college or continue with school. The agriculture education mission is : “Agricultural education prepares students for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resource systems.” (National FFA Organization)
So what are SAE’s or Supervised Agriculture Experiences? These are basically projects that students do at home in order to earn degrees. This involves keeping a record book of working, or taking records of animals. It could include having a part time job at a local supermarket, or working on your family’s farm. Many students keep track of volunteer work or even create a science experiment, and keep records of that. There are basically four different categories, that can overlap, and this is how students “Learn to do” (Which is a part of the FFA motto, stated in an earlier blog)
Own and operate an agricultural business (e.g. a lawn care service, a pay-to-fish operation, holiday poinsettia production and sales.)
Get a job or internship on a farm or ranch, at an agriculture-based business, or in a school or factory laboratory.
Research and Experimentation
Plan and conduct a scientific experiment. (e.g. Determine whether the phases of the moon affect plant growth, or test and determine the efficacy of different welding methods.)
Explore careers in agriculture by attending an agriculture career fair, or creating a report or documentary on the work of a veterinarian.
Students are also able to perform SAE’s outside of agriculture, as long as they meet the time and money invested requirements, and show active participation in the FFA.
SAE projects are extremely fulfilling for students because… WE get to choose! With the help of our advisor, we can chose what project to take one.
So why, are SAE’s worth the extra work? Well, I am a little bit biased, but YES! You learn a lot, you get experience and practice keeping records, and these projects definitely teach responsibility and accountability. These projects also look great on resume’s when applying for jobs, colleges, or scholarships, and you can earn FFA degrees.
These degrees are not like a bachelor in science, or a doctorate, etc, but are like different levels within the organization. In most programs in Pennsylvania, the degrees are the following: Oh, and these degrees come with pins that students can put on their awesome FFA Jackets!
1. DISCOVERY DEGREE: (If the FFA has a middle school program)
2. GREENHAND DEGREE: (Freshman or first year members)
3. CHAPTER DEGREE: (second year member)
4 LOCAL/COUNTY DEGREE: (in my home county, Lancaster, it is called the Red Rose Degree)
5. STATE DEGREE: (In PA it is called the KEYSTONE DEGREE, this is the highest degree the state can give)
6. AMERICAN DEGREE: (This is the highest degree available in the National FFA Organization, and is a really, really, really big deal! Only about 1/2 of 1% of students reach this level!)
Receiving a degree in the FFA takes many hours, and filing out papers,etc. But with the experiences gained and the friends made, I believe it is well worth it!
Have a lovely week!