I’d been meaning to post a blog all week about National FFA Week, and here it is, late on Friday night, and I’m finally taking the time to sing the praises of the FFA organization.
"I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years."
That is the first paragraph of the FFA Creed, written by E.M. Tiffany in 1930 and memorized by countless Freshman FFA members across the country, including myself as a Worthington Area Junior High School ninth grader back in the 1980s.
Generations of my family haved endured the struggles and celebrations of agriculture. There are stories of threshing bees, memories of a first tractor, the hard work of planting fields with horses, milking cows by hand, the Dirty Thirties, grasshopper plagues … Agriculture is a part of my past – it will always be a part of me.
"I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits,is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny."
Well, I don’t know if I’ll ever say that shoveling loads of goat manure was pleasant, but I did it. Blistered hands and sore shoulders did not mean an end to work. You worked until the job was done. That was the motto on the farm, and it is a motto I live by today.
"I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil."
FFA taught me to be a leader – to take chances. It taught me the finer points of parliamentary procedure and the detail in recordkeeping. I learned to seek perfection, and although it can never be achieved, I do my best.
"I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so – for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me."
"I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task."
Thanks Mr. Tiffany for inspiring so many young minds in the FFA organization.
I was proud to wear the Blue and Gold for four years, I was proud to earn a bachelor’s degree in AGRICULTURE Journalism, and I will always be proud of the fine students of today who are devoted to the agriculture industry!