FFA: Funding future agriculturalists

ffa students

One of the largest rural youth leadership organizations, FFA, kicks off National FFA Week, Feb. 16-23 to celebrate all things ag leaders, blue corduroy and agricultural education. Many CHS employees are former FFA members and many CHS locations are involved with their local FFA chapters.

To celebrate National FFA Week, CHS Foundation President Nanci Lilja answered a few questions about why the CHS Foundation supports FFA and what makes this partnership so special.

Q:  What is FFA?

FFA is a youth organization that uses agricultural education to prepare middle and high school students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.  FFA helps members develop their talent and leadership skills and explore their interests in agriculture through hands-on opportunities, classroom instruction, career development events (CDEs), leadership conferences and much more.

Q: How does the CHS Foundation support FFA?

The CHS Foundation is two years into its three- year, $3.8 million grant to National FFA that supports proficiencies and career development events, New Century Farmer and teacher education and retention programs.  In addition, the CHS Foundation also supports 17 state FFA associations throughout the CHS trade territory.  That funding varies by state, but also supports proficiencies and career development events, state FFA officer teams, leadership conferences and even jackets for students who may not be able to afford them.

Q: Why does the CHS Foundation support FFA?

CHS, the CHS Foundation and FFA have a few things in common, and one of those is recognizing that well-trained, passionate individuals are needed to ensure agriculture is successful far into the future.  FFA students are those individuals. They are developing strong leadership skills through hands-on agricultural-based education and activities. While 55 percent of FFA members come from rural areas, an increasing percentage represent a wide array of diverse backgrounds and FFA is their first introduction to agriculture.  We consider our support of FFA a smart investment in future leaders and the talent pipeline.

Q: What makes FFA special?

The students! Every time I have the privilege to interact with FFA students, I am impressed at their thoughtfulness, creativity and passion.  FFA develops strong and capable leaders that understand agriculture.  With these students leading the next generation, I’m confident our industry is in good hands. 

To learn more about how the CHS Foundation supports other organizations that develop ag leaders for life, visit chsfoundation.org.

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