History of Iowa FFA
Over ninety years have passed since the first FFA chapter was organized in Iowa. The following is a statement taken from the Iowa Association FFA "Ten years of progress" report:
"The vocational agriculture program was started in Iowa, as well in other states of the nation, in 1917. This was shortly after the passage of the Smith-Hughes Vocational Education Act by the National Congress. Almost from the beginning of the inauguration of the program there was a consciousness on the part of many leaders in this phase of education that farm boys need inspiration as much, if not more, than information regarding the occupation of farming. It was in search of some means of supplying this inspiration for the farm boys that Henry C. Groseclose of Virginia conceived the Future Farmer idea and organized the 'FFV,' Future Farmers of Virginia. This was in 1926. The plan proved successful. It appealed to farm boys. Similar organizations patterned closely after the FFV developed in other states. In 1928, there was a demand from all parts of the country for a national organization for farm boys enrolled in vocational agriculture classes. In November of that year, an organization meeting was held in Kansas City, Missouri, at which time a temporary constitution very similar to the present one was adopted. Thus, the various state organizations were affiliated into a national organization known as the Future Farmers of America."
"In response to a need for an organization among the vocational agriculture students in Iowa, local clubs of one type or another had been in operation within the state for a number of years. However, there was little to hold these local clubs together. Consequently, when the opportunity came to form a state organization of vocational agriculture students and to link with the national organization, all persons interested in the further development of vocational agriculture education were enthusiastic about the possibility. Delegates from 23 schools organized the Iowa Association FFA at Iowa State College May 17, 1929. On September 9, 1929, a charter was granted by the National organization. Iowa was the twenty-second state to qualify for a charter. Preliminary to the organization of the Iowa Association a number of individual committees were at work. A committee composed of G.F. Ekstrom, supervisor of agricultural education, and Instructors Adam Miller and H.T. Hall, were appointed to investigate the possibilities of and to work out a plan for a state organization of vocational agriculture students. Another committee composed of Messrs. H.J. Hamlin and H.M. Byram of Iowa State College; Instructors Paul Barker, Wilbur Balmos and H.T. Hall, and C.G. Ekstrom met to plan a state constitution. Another meeting was held in March 1929, at which Messrs. H.M. Hamlin, H.M. Byram, T.E. Sexauer, A.A. Sather, W.H. Lancelot, E.C. Darling, P.I. Barker, C.E. Bundy, H.T. Hall, J.A. Linke, F.E. Moore, and G.F. Ekstrom were present.”
"The first local FFA chapter in Iowa was organized at Kelley in July 1929 under the leadership of H.M. Byram, teacher of vocational agriculture. Soon after chapters were organized at Muscatine, Maquoketa, and Charles City. Following these, the movement spread rapidly into all parts of Iowa. By the end of the first year 1929-1930, the 30 local chapters had been organized in the state."
The history of the FFA in Iowa has been from the beginning one of progress. It has grown from 576 members and 23 chapters in 1929 to 252 chapters and more than 18,200 members at the present time. The organization has not only grown in membership but has each year improved its program of helping students better prepare themselves for citizenship and to meet the pressing problems of production agriculture and agribusiness.
During the over ninety years of progress in the Iowa FFA Association, thousands have gained inspiration and developed confidence in themselves as a result of their membership and participation in the FFA. A large percentage of these students are applying the knowledge gained from their training in agricultural education and are putting into action the inspiration received from participating in the FFA. These past FFA members are helping to make Iowa a prosperous agricultural state in which to live.