Blaine's Bulletin: FFA Week
Washington, February 26, 2021
With 2/3 of our state covered in farmland and being home to the second highest number of farms in the nation, Missouri knows a little something about the agricultural business. Our state is home to generations of skilled ag producers who play a critical role in our local economies, job market and food supply chain. And with an $88 billion agriculture industry, Missouri is not only a major supplier for the nation but the entire world. This week is Future Farmers of America (FFA) Week and with over 25,000 active Missouri FFA members, I am extremely encouraged that our state’s strong agricultural tradition will continue and grow with the next generation of Missourians.
The FFA was started in 1928 by a group of young farmers with the mission to “prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population.” This still remains a major pillar of the FFA’s mission, but the organization has evolved over the years as agricultural opportunities have expanded and the industry has become more comprehensive. While planting and harvesting of course will remain the priority, FFA also helps high school students explore other areas of the industry and potential careers in agricultural biology, engineering, chemistry, veterinary care and business ownership. Through classroom education and hands-on, real world experience to help develop skills in areas of interest, FFA is helping keep Missouri’s agriculture industry alive and well. And with the members of our state’s organization achieving the highest number of American FFA Degrees – the highest achievable honor in FFA – of any state in the country, it looks like Missouri will continue to be a national industry leader.
Not only does Missouri continue to be one of the biggest contributors to our nation’s traditional agricultural industry, but we have become a global leader in agricultural technology. Organizations like FFA are helping the next generation of agricultural enthusiasts learn about the technological advancements in the industry. Every day, researchers are figuring out ways things like drones, satellites and robots can be used to make life in one of the world’s most unpredictable industries a little bit easier. Our state has such a high concentration of researchers, innovators, and producers that we are now home to the “Ag Coast” of America, have become a major hub for agricultural science, and are helping set the “AgTech” tone for the rest of world.
Farming and ranching are quintessentially Missourian and I’m grateful that organizations like FFA are helping keep our agricultural tradition going by providing education and experience to our state’s students. This industry has fed and supported families in our state for generations, my own being no exception. I helped pay my way through college raising hogs and cattle and my wife and I still run our family farm in St. Elizabeth. It can be one of the most challenging jobs there is, but also one of the most rewarding. Farmers and ranchers are tasked with feeding the world, and as the Representative of one of the top producing states in America, I will continue to do everything in my power to help Missouri farmers in Congress.