The vocational agriculture program known as FFA. is marking an anniversary this week, 84 years of teaching the importance of farming. Kurt Veldhuizen, an FFA advisor at Webster City High School, says Iowa has 12,000 members across the state and it’s a privilege to bring more into the fold every year.

“Even in today’s economy, we’re struggling as a country but one really good bright spot is agriculture,” Veldhuizen says. “It really is holding strong. That’s not just the production agriculture, that’s everything involved. My freshmen, that’s one of the first things that I teach them.”

The group changed its name from Future Farmers of America to FFA in 1998 to reflect the diverse scope of the agriculture industry. Veldhuizen says he’s confident agriculture will remain one of the top industries for the state and nation, currently employing more than 24-million people.

“As long as there’s humans on this earth, we’re going to need to feed ourselves,” Veldhuizen says. “There’s always going to be jobs, to an extent, in the agriculture area. I think students see that and see the advantage they can get by getting a leg up on the competition as far as their peers by getting trained in agriculture areas.”

Nationwide, there are more than 500,000 FFA members in 7,400 chapters in all 50 states. Learn more at:

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City