Emily Hanlin mugshot-2
By Emily Hanlin
Winnebago-Boone Farm Bureau
BOONE COUNTY – George Washington, the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, once said, “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of a man.”
The importance Mr. Washington saw in the agricultural industry is not always a shared opinion among some consumers. In fact, one young animal rights “expert” and blogger seems to have a completely different view. Recently, animal rights activists have attacked the agriculture industry once again, this time focusing on The National FFA Organization.
According to ffa.org, “FFA is the organization of, by and for students enrolled in agricultural education programs. The National FFA Organization is an integral part of the organized instructional programs in agricultural education, which prepare students for a wide range of careers in agriculture, agribusiness and other agriculture-related occupations.”
The mission of those who founded the organization “was to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. They taught us that agriculture is more than planting and harvesting – it’s a science, it’s a business and it’s an art.”
This reporting concentrated exclusively on the “inhumane” treatment of livestock. However, the National FFA Organization is so much more than cows and sows.
Personally, The National FFA Organization has shaped me into the person I am today. Be it cliché, I have gained so much personal, leadership, and communication skills through this organization. Sure, I grew up on a farm so joining the FFA was not anything out of the ordinary.
However, I did not expect to gain these kinds of skills through an agriculture related organization. But, because of the FFA, I have come to enjoy many different activities including public speaking.
If it was not for my agriculture teacher urging me to participate in the FFA Creed speaking contest as a freshman, I would not have discovered my passion and talent for public speaking.
In fact, because of that push from my teacher, Mr. Gilbert, in High School, I went on to compete in and win a National Collegiate Public Speaking Contest.
You see, even though we are known as the Future Farmers of America, the basis and focus of the FFA does not require you to have any background or knowledge in the agricultural industry at all. It is simply a student lead organization that is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
FFA-EmilyI have made friends around the nation due to this organization. These friendships are a special bond; a bond that only those who have zipped up that blue jacket themselves and felt the honor that comes with it can understand.
Almost 630,000 current FFA members and thousands ofFFA alumni have one thing in common: we take pride in the organization that has given us so much.
Therefore, I am extremely prideful when I see my fellow FFA members standing up to protect the very organization that gave them the courage to stand upat all.
Those who agree with George Washington in saying that the agriculture industry is the noblest employment of anyone believe that FFA is a positive experience for its members. This organization has been in place since 1928.
Since then, millions of agriculture students have put on the official FFA jacket.
According to the National FFA Organization, “All 50 states and two U.S. territories are currently chartered members of the national organization, representing 629,327 individual FFA members and 7,665 local chapters. It’s a testament to the power of common goals and the strong ideals of the FFA founders.”
That astounding number of individuals puts the FFA on top as the largest student lead organization in the Nation.
Today, the National FFA Organization remains dedicated to the individual student, providing a path to triumph in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
The website, ffa.org, states, “FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet those challenges by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of agricultural career pathways. So today, we are still the Future Farmers of America. But, we are the Future Biologists, Future Chemists, Future Veterinarians, Future Engineers and Future Entrepreneurs of America, too.”
This recent attack has led to a flood of social media posts from past and present FFA members sharing their story of how this organization has positively influenced them while using the hash tag #FFAproud.
One post from a past FFA member included the statement, “If we don’t tell our story, someone else will.”
I encourage you to search #FFAproud to read more stories from FFA students and Alumni.

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