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The Blue and Gold

April 28, 2010

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to attend the Oklahoma State FFA Convention at the Cox Center in OKC. Every five years, past state FFA officers are invited to the convention for a reunion, and this was the first time I’d been able to attend since I’d served as State FFA Secretary in 1981.

Yup, that is yours truly, front row, far right. To my right is Wendell, right of him is Russ. In the back row, L to R, are Phil, Scott, Doug, Steve, and Brian.

Oh, we all had a lot of hair back then! And it was our natural color, LOL. I was privileged to serve with an incredibly fine group of young men. Without a doubt, it was one of the most fun years of my life. In fact, my years spent in FFA in high school shaped and molded me as a person in a way almost nothing else has done. The things I learned about myself, my community, and the world of agriculture have enabled me to follow my passion. I would not be raising sheep or be involved in the local food movement today were it not for the FFA.

Now, let me back up a second–many of you may not be familiar with this organization. If you grew up in OKC or Tulsa or Dallas/Ft. Worth, you may not have encountered young men and women wearing the blue and gold jackets. FFA used to stand for “Future Farmers of America.” My dad was a member of the Tuttle FFA chapter back in the 50s, but my mom was not, even though she grew up on a farm and could drive a tractor or a mule team! That’s because young women weren’t allowed to be members of the national organization until 1969. In the late 80s, the organization changed its name to the “National FFA Organization,” dropping the reference to ‘future farmers’ to indicate the organization’s breadth of emphasis goes beyond production agriculture into areas of leadership, business, science, and the technology of ag. [Ed. note: your author was not in favor of this change, but I’ll toe the party line for now.] Regardless of the name, FFA has impacted the lives of young people for more than 80 years. If you have the chance to support these hard working kids, please do so. Buy some Blue and Gold Sausage, contribute to the Oklahoma FFA Foundation, or donate premium money to the county fair or junior livestock show. Your support of these young people will pay forward into the future for years to come.

For more information about FFA, you can visit the National FFA Organization here or the Oklahoma FFA here.

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