According to recent membership statistics, the FFA, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, are currently in the midst of a membership boom. In the past year more than 17,000 young people joined the group, whose official purpose is to promote agricultural training and encourage young people to enter agricultural jobs.
The Midwest in particular has seen a boom in FFA membership. In Indiana, for example, agriculture contributes a significant amount to the overall state economy. About 16 percent of the state’s workforce works in the agricultural sector. With the emergence of biofuel production and clean energy jobs, many expect agricultural jobs to continue to grow, encouraging more young people to join groups like the FFA.
In addition to the explosion of agricultural jobs, many attribute the rise in FFA membership to the overall economic health of the ag industry as a whole. Given high commodity prices, farm incomes are on the rise and agricultural production is making up a larger and more visible part of the national economy.
Visibility is a major cause of increased interest in the FFA and agricultural jobs. Agricultural groups like the Farm Bureau, the FFA, and government groups like the U.S. Department of Agriculture frequently offer college scholarships and establish agricultural activities in high schools and middle schools, increasing the visibility of farm jobs and making the agricultural sector more appealing to young people.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer