Celebrating National FFA Week: Why it matters to everyone

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Indianapolis, Ind. (February 23, 2016) - Now more than ever, people want to know where their food came from, what's in it and if it's safe.

Many of ouur future agricultural leaders are learning the ropes in the Future Farmers of America.

It's been around since 1928 and still going strong, with 629,367 student members as part of local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Its mission is to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population.

The members celebrate National FFA Week February 20-27. It's during the week of George Washington's birthday, which is February 22, because of his legacy as a farmer.

"I would say the biggest reason it’s continued to grow and thrive is because it’s not afraid to evolve," said local FFA member Sean Harrington.

"While a lot of FFA members do end up going on to agricultural careers, it’s more than just production agriculture," said Harrington. "It’s working on the business side of things, and science and developing those new things to use for agriculture."

Harrington joined FFA in 8th grade and says the leadership students learn in FFA sticks with them no matter what career path they end up taking.

Many FFA members end up as biologists, chemists, engineers, veterinarians and entrepreneurs.

Harrington's fellow FFA member Brett Roberts plans to go into the field of agronomics to help implement agriculture policies.

"I think it’s important to remember you need a farmer three times a day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the time you eat in between," said Roberts. "So it’s very important that people remember farming is a daily activity, it’s an hourly activity, and it’s all to make sure Americans have a safe and constant supply of food."

Roberts says his dad encouraged him to join FFA.

"In these last five years as an FFA member, it’s really been empowering for me. It’s opened up so many doors."

"National FFA supports all types of agriculture in the pursuit of feeding nine billion people by 2050, but it’s really up to the consumers' choice and what they want to see on the super market shelves," said Roberts. "The consumer does drive our industry so what the consumer wants, we’ll deliver, and they can vote every time they check out."

Tuesday is Give FFA Day, a day dedicated to encouraging the public to help support the members. Click here if you want information on how to help.

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