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George Washington plays a major role in National FFA Week. Why?

Author: Kristy

National FFA Week is an annual tradition for members of the blue and gold across the country. It’s a time to celebrate FFA, to tell the story of FFA members and advocate for agriculture. And it always falls in the middle of February.

But why is that? Why isn’t FFA Week in the middle of May?  Why not celebrate National FFA Week during the annual National FFA Convention & Expo?

It all comes down to one (very important) guy: George Washington.

No, George Washington was never an FFA member and he didn’t quite live long enough to join the farm boys at their original Future Farmers of America convention in 1928. But Mr. Washington, in addition to his not-so-small task of founding a country, was also known to be a diligent and exemplary farmer and agriculturist.

Because of that, when Henry C. Groseclose wrote the original constitution for the Future Farmers of Virginia — the predecessor to today’s FFA — he pointed to the leadership that both Washington and Thomas Jefferson exemplified through “scientific knowledge, intelligence and enthusiasm” as key tenets of the organization. Those points also inspired Washington’s inclusion in the official FFA opening ceremonies, words that exist to this day:

Vice President: “The treasurer.”

Treasurer: “Stationed at the emblem of Washington.”

Vice President: “Your duties there?”

Treasurer: “I keep a record of receipts and disbursements just as Washington kept his farm accounts—carefully and accurately. I encourage thrift among the members and strive to build up our financial standing through  savings and investments. George Washington was better able to serve his country because he was financially independent.”

But Washington’s legacy with and connection to National FFA Week was cemented in 1947. That year, the National FFA Board of Directors voted to expand FFA Day — a tradition started in 1933 — to a week-long celebration that started officially in 1948. Paying tribute to Washington, the board made it known that National FFA Week would always fall during the week of the first president’s birthday.

In 2014, of course, Washington’s birthday is February 22 — the final day of National FFA Week.

Posted in In The Industry |
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