February 2017
Youth Matters

FFA Sentinel: The Past, A Gateway to the Future

A Glimpse of FFA Chapter Activities in 1952


County FFA presidents and state officers rest at the base of Vulcan in Birmingham after climbing to the top and back down in 1952.


As 2016 has now come to a close and as we, the Alabama FFA Association, look back on the past year and at all of the successes of the FFA members and teachers throughout our state, we are reminded that FFA does make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. To accomplish its mission, FFA develops competent and assertive agricultural leadership. The National FFA Organization is the largest student-lead youth organization in the country and can be found in almost all of the school systems across our state.

Alabama FFA experienced growth in the number of FFA events held at the district, state and national level in 2016. What will 2017 hold for Alabama FFA?

The future is bright for Alabama FFA with new and expanding leadership opportunities such as the Alabama Winter Alumni Conference, the Chapter Presidents Conference, Auburn University Spring Judging Clinics, our three district eliminations (Career Development Event contests) and all culminating in June at the annual Alabama FFA State Convention. All of the events mentioned, plus many more that Alabama FFA hosts or organizes, are centered on student leadership development. FFA is known for its ability to train young leaders and develop their talents in order that they may go out into the community and take part in local activities.

Reflecting is something that sometimes inspires me and, for this month, I thought it would be interesting to take you back in time and see exactly what FFA chapters were up to in the spring of 1952. My hope is that these short excerpts from Alabama Future Farmer will bring to former FFA members a little nostalgia and a sense of belonging and warmth or for current members to be challenged to help their chapters grow and complete projects inspiring the membership to get more involved at the local, county, district and state levels.

If you are interested in reading more of the Alabama Future Farmer magazines from our past, the articles can be found by visiting our website at www.alabamaffa.org and clicking on the FFA Reporter tab. Well, what were the chapters doing in 1952?

ALEXANDER CITY – Judging team won sec­ond in county elimination; have committees appointed to determine Program of Work; and ordered 36 FFA T-shirts.

ARAB - Purchased five pigs to top out; sold two top hogs; sowed 1.5 acres of school lawn; organized Dairy Judging team; ordered four FFA T-shirts; organized FFA quartet; bought a new rip saw and electric welder; plan to initiate new ag students; ordered Green Hand and Chapter Farmer pins; sold peanuts at football games; and purchased one registered Duroc gilt.

AUBURN – Quartet presented program at Sou­thern Regional Hamps Hire Banquet; put on weekly radio program over local station; quar­tet won tri-state contest; won first place with exhibit at county fair; gave program to hos­pitalized veterans in Montgomery; won third place in judging dairy cattle at county fair; and made an educational tour to points of interest in Florida.

BROOKWOOD – Purchased four pigs to be fed the leftovers from the high school cafeteria; planted 3 acres of crimson clover pasture to furnish winter grazing; and goal for 195x-52 is to plant 20,000 pine seedlings by FFA members.

CLANTON – Put on exhibit for Alabama In­dustrial Day; operating drink concession stand at football games; making plans to send Beef Judging Team to Kansas City; placing four pigs on Pig Chain; collected dues from every boy taking vocational agriculture; and making plans to enter several state contests this year.

CLEVELAND – Held FFA and FHA social; purchased total of 20 calves; and entered county and district Jersey cattle shows.

CULLMAN – Promoted legume contest in chapter; erected club signs; initiated new mem­bers; selected program committee; discussed contests; organized string band; planned activities to be carried out during year; and organized quartet.

EAST LIMESTONE – Added 3 gilts to pig chain; purchased new film strip projector; 100 percent of students have joined FFA.

EVERGREEN – Begun process for a Program of Work for 1951-52; planning Parent-Son Ban­quet to be held during National FFA Week; have 10 pigs to be added to Pig Chain; constructing a corn crib to be used for the pig chain; and have 26 new members.

GENEVA – Chapter member to play in the National Band; ordered 30 student notebooks; ordered four FFA jackets; organized quartet; and published two news articles.

KINSTON – Held meeting for officers’ train­ing; two boys entered hog stock show; and mem­bers plan to pay expenses of Adviser F.W. Wood to national convention.

LEROY – Held club meeting to set up activity program; ordered FFA paraphernalia; nine boys purchased beef show calves; had public speaker in tri-state meeting; all members entering one or more contests; and have several members attending state fair.

McADORY – 43 new members; two members feeding beef calves for Fat Stock Show; mem­bers selling subscription to Southern Agriculturist; working on contests; and all members pur­chased manuals.

McKENZIE – Have 71 members, largest in chapter history; put on an exhibit at state fair; and news article in paper.

MAPLESVILLE – Showed one dairy calf at county fair; added 10 new books to FFA library; appointed committees for the coming year; col­lected FFA dues; elected officers; and added three registered Duroc gilts to Pig Chain.

As a final note, all of the FFA chapters mentioned in this article are still currently active.

As I always do, I would like to encourage you to reach out to your local FFA advisers and FFA members; and for FFA members to reach out to your community and learn about your chapter’s history. As current FFA members move deeper into their programs of activities for 2017, reflect on 2016 and beyond, move toward the future, set new goals and meet new challenges such as developing a challenging program of activities, increasing membership and participation in your chapter, competing in new events, and meeting new friends head on.

My hope is for you, as a member of FFA, your FFA chapter and the readership of this column to have a bright, health-filled and prosperous New Year. We look forward to seeing you throughout the spring and, of course, at the 2017 Alabama FFA State Convention in Montgomery.


Andy Chamness is the Central District FFA Adviser and education specialist with the Alabama Department of Education.