Members of the McClain FFA chapter provided an overview Thursday for the Greenfield Rotary Club on what the organization is all about, and tied it all together with Rotary’s Four-Way Test.
Chapter president Madison Schumacher, reporter Emily Jones, secretary Whitney Blazer, and vice president Matt Barton gave the presentation. They covered all the bases of what FFA means and the opportunities provided to its members.
Started in 1928, the FFA isn’t the same organization it used to be, they said. And according to the FFAs’ website, females didn’t gain official membership standing until 1969. Today, more than half the McClain FFA’s membership is female, advisor and agriculture teacher Chris Fitzpatrick said, adding that he believes that to be the truth across the state as well.
FFA’s purpose is to build leadership, develop potential, and build personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
Agriculture’s economic importance was addressed. To provide a snapshot of that importance on the local level, Barton said that as of 2012 there were 1,412 farms in Highland County. Those farms generated more than $128 million from crop and livestock production.
Teaching the importance of agriculture is a goal of the organization, he said. One way that is done is the chapter has one day a year set aside to educate youth.
Members also have numerous opportunities to participate, gain skills and apply those skills. Schumacher said FFA members attend FFA camp and also can attend state and national FFA conventions. Members are also able to travel, not only for the conventions, but for competitions. Last year, McClain FFA members traveled to Oklahoma for a national soil judging contest and placed 17th. Other competitions like job interviewing and parliamentary procedure help members gain valuable skills and apply them.
The 130-member chapter is also involved in a number of projects, members said, like blood drives, annually providing a Christmas experience for elementary students, adopting 10 families every year for Christmas, and promoting epilepsy awareness.
With community as its “driving force,” the members compared FFA with Rotary’s goals as a service organization. Schumacher said that in the last two years, McClain FFA members have logged more than 950 hours of community service.
The end of the presentation saw the tying of FFA together with Rotary through the latter’s Four-Way Test, which asks, “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” The Four-Way Test is a moral code used throughout Rotary for relationships, both personal and business.
“Our chapter does a lot,” Schumacher said, “but we hope to do more.”
The chapter has a Facebook page, McClain Ffa, where all member activities are posted.
The Greenfield Rotary Club meets each Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at Catch 22 Sports Pub, 250 Jefferson St.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.