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Oklahoma FFA membership reaches an all-time high this year

Oklahoma FFA Association

A record number of Oklahoma high schoolers this year are donning the blue corduroy FFA jacket.

TheOklahoma FFA Association recently reached record-high membership this year of 29,207 students. That’s a nearly 5% increase from last year.

Scott Nemecek, the state FFA advisor, said the association's rise in enrollment is due in part to high schools’ growing interest in offering the agricultural science curriculum to their students.

He said the association has added 38 new agriculture teachers over the last three years for a current total of 494 agriculture teachers across the state’s 366 FFA chapters.

“Three new teachers are now at schools that have not previously offered FFA curriculum,” Nemecek said. “But the rest of the additional teachers are at schools that already offer it. So it’s not necessarily a new chapter, it’s just an additional teacher to allow for more enrollment.”

Brent Haken, the state director for Oklahoma Career and Technology Education, said traditional farming is just part of the curriculum. He said it helps students learn the many different areas of agriculture, including veterinary science, business management and agriculture communications.

“This program is so successful because it doesn't narrow a person down to a certain interest,” Haken said. “It's all across the scope of agriculture and reaches so many different industries and avenues that it can catch anybody that wants to be a part of it.”

The organization helps prepare students to step into agricultural careers. Nemecek and Haken said, although they recognize some students won’t pursue work in agriculture, the program will at least help students gain an appreciation and understanding of food production.

“It’s important that students have some knowledge of ag literacy to understand what goes in the agriculture industry because it affects your life daily,” Nemecek said. “Whether they’re going to be future voters or future policymakers, they need to know how it impacts the world.”

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America,reached a record-high membership this year of over 945,000 students, an 11% increase from last year.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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