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How does one explain FFA? Where does one start? Take half a million kids in blue corduroy jackets, toss in a mix of dedicated advisors, parents (many of whom themselves are advisors), alumni and supporters, blend in 75 years of tradition and the more than 4 million involved in all that time, and perhaps you'd arrive at the beginning of an answer.

Look into the bright, fresh faces of today's FFA youth, listen to them talk, and witness their deeds. Wait one moment, they're different from anyone else - or are they?

Yes, they are different. They live by principles of service every day. Their agriculture teacher advisors are the epitome of service.

Bright-eyed, hopeful, the youth of FFA are the promise of a robust future; they are the hope of a strong tomorrow in all pursuits of adult life. But they're still kids, kids with the same pressures, if not greater. Yet, they have defined purpose, purposeful direction, and they're on a proven path toward success.

The tradition and the standards of excellence conceived more than 75 years ago remain vibrantly alive. The world today is smaller, it moves faster and the pressures are greater. Today, every aspect of everyday American life hurtles toward a growing techno-complexity that demands resolute preparedness. FFA provides the basis. FFA affords the required confidence to face the acute challenges of food and fiber production, agri-science, public service and - this is the truly hard part - simple daily life.

FFA is simply the best student leadership organization in the nation. Not only has it kept up with the times, it has led in the change.

Did those wise progenitors of the FFA ideals have any idea that what they labored to create would one day be the pre-eminent youth development organization in the world? Foresight? They had it. Farsighted? They were. No one with a great idea can ever fully comprehend how far the concept will go and grow. That is entirely up to those who follow. Those followers have performed well. The spirit of FFA remains true, strong, fluid and alive.

FFA is a national youth organization of 464,267 student members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture with 7,194 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Visit for more information.
- Excerpt from the 75th FFA anniversary book Blue Jackets: Gold Standards - Living the FFA Legacy by Paul Miner.

Whether you are a current FFA member, a former member or just interested in agriculture, Blue Jackets: Gold Standards offers a most interesting journey into FFA and the opportunities afforded through agricultural education.

From the Foreword, a personal and touching tribute written by Nicholas Kristoff (New York Times columnist and former FFA member from Yamhill, Ore.) to the closing page, which features a snappy Garfield the Cat salute to FFA, courtesy of Jim Davis (well-known cartoonist and former president of the Fairmount FFA Chapter in Indiana), the stories and photographs contained in this book will help you understand how FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of its members.

If you would like to order a copy of this beautiful coffee-table book reflecting the people and the spirit of the FFA through a collection of thoughts, impressions and photographs, please contact M.T. Publishing at 888/263-4702 or visit their Web site at Mention AgriMarketing magazine to receive a special discounted price of $24.95, with a royalty to FFA for each book sold. AM

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