FFA Lessons: Expectations vs. Reality

FFA Lessons: Expectations vs. Reality

From the time you walked into your first intro to agriculture class or attended your first FFA meeting, you learned many valuable lessons. But, the things you learned weren’t always quite what you expected. From technical skills to leadership development to career preparedness and more, here are the realities of some of those FFA lessons.

Showing livestock

Expectation: When you decided to show livestock, it seemed like a fun and unique extra-curricular activity. You figured you would learn things like different breeds and what to feed your animals.

Reality: A lot more goes into showing livestock than you expected. In addition to the base-level knowledge, you learned how to apply skills ranging from public speaking to talk to judges to math to figure out the best feed rations. You had to learn how to read registration papers and ear notches, and the art of showmanship is far more nuanced than you imagined.

Ag mechanics

Expectation: Welding! Fire! Fun!

Reality: Shop safety is a really big deal, and there is a lot of geometry involved. You definitely need to understand angles to create plans for a project. And who knew you would have to keep a scrapbook for an ag mechanics project?

Record books

Expectation: When you first learned record books were a requirement, you were filled with dread. You may have even thought it would be tedious and unnecessary.

Reality: Record books were definitely tedious, but you learned how to keep track of your finances much sooner in life than your non-FFA peers.

Leadership and career preparedness

Expectation: You heard there was some of this involved, but you assumed FFA was more about showing animals and building things.

Reality: FFA prepared you for your future more than anything else. You learned how to dress professionally and how to properly shake someone’s hand. You were networking before you knew what networking is. You learned how to present your ideas in an articulate and thought-provoking manner, and you learned how to work with other people to accomplish a goal.


Regardless of how you participated in FFA, you definitely gain a lot from being a part of the organization. In my experience, the things I learned in FFA still help me to this day, and I will always value my time as an FFA member.

Cover Photo: National FFA Organization

Thank you, FFA.

Thank you, FFA.

Small Town Dynamic Changes with New FFA Chapter

Small Town Dynamic Changes with New FFA Chapter