Humble Beginnings: The History of National FFA Convention
The 90th National FFA Convention will be filled with over 60,000 blue corduroy jackets, inspiring sessions filled with laser lights, music and technology and topped off with a concert by the country band, Rascal Flatts. It is easy to become distracted by the captivating experiences, but let’s take a moment to appreciate the humble beginnings of the National FFA Convention.
1928- 1st National FFA Convention held at the Hotel Baltimore in Kansas City, Missouri. 33 farm boys gathered from 18 states to elect the first National President and develop the organization.
1929- The empowering words of the FFA Creed were adopted as well as the official colors of corn gold and national blue.
1933- The “sea of blue” began with the adoption of official dress and the classic blue corduroy jackets.
1937- At National Convention, action was taken to establish a national FFA camp and leadership training school in Washington, D.C.
1948- The talent that we now enjoy at National FFA Convention started with beginning with the first Chorus and Talent programs. Fun Fact: At the 20th National FFA Convention, the attendance was so high that a folding-cot hotel was set up in the basement of the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.
1965- New Farmers of America merged with the Future Farmers of America. New Farmers of America was an organization for African-American boys with a passion for agriculture.
1966- 1st National FFA Agricultural Career Show at National FFA convention.
1969- National FFA Convention delegates voted to allow female members into the organization. Today, 45% of FFA members are females while over half of the leadership roles are held by girls!
2000 – National FFA Convention delegates approve Discovery FFA Degree for middle school students.
2004- 1st live webcast of National FFA Convention!
2016- Current Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence addressed FFA Members at the 2016 American Degree Session. He joins Presidents: George H.W. Bush (1987), Jimmy Carter (1978), Gerald Ford (1974) and Richard Nixon (1968) to attend National FFA Convention.
From Kansas City, MO to Louisville, KY to today in Indianapolis, IN the National FFA Convention has transformed to be the packed, motivating and inspirational 4 day convention with over 60,000 FFA members in attendance. As the sea of blue stampedes Indy this week, let’s remember our history as we are empowered with the message of ‘I Can, We Will’.