This is National FFA Week as young Iowans in blue corduroy jackets drive tractors to school and showcase their many ag-related talents and activities. Herb Strasser is an FFA advisor and agriculture instructor at Northeast Hamilton High School in Blairsburg. Strasser says the FFA remains important for students pursuing careers in agriculture and this week is a highlight.
He says this week’s observance is focused on just being seeing and doing civic-related jobs around the community. There are about 7,500 FFA members in Iowa, while nationwide, there are more than 500,000 members in 7,400 chapters in all 50 states. While the FFA has been around since 1928, Strasser says the challenge for the future is communication.
“Nothing in agriculture has the visibility that it had 35, 40 years ago,” he says. “So it’s constantly keeping the public informed that there are opportunities for all young people to be involved in FFA, whether they live on a farm, live in the community or even commute to and from the school.”
Agriculture is the nation’s top industry, employing more than 24-million people. FFA aims to prepare members for more than 300 careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. Strasser says the market trends that are affecting commodities now are a valuable tool for FFA students to follow, especially in this economy.
“Being aware of your commodities and trying to explain to our students how important it is to look well ahead and market your grain properly is one of the skills that keeps a farmer successful or keeps them on the margin of the industry,” Strasser says. “The markets are probably not going to stabilize. I think what we’ve been seeing for the last couple if years is probably the norm, rather than the exception, in agriculture.” Membership in FFA is open to middle and high schoolers.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City