History of FFA Club at FHS

Becca Henegar, Contributor

In 1925, the Future Farmers of Virginia was started by a few agriculture teachers at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, now known as Virginia Tech. This club was strictly for white boys in agriculture classes. In 1927, the New Farmers of Virginia group was created for African Americans due to segregation laws of that time. By 1928, the Future Farmers of America was created, holding their first national convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
However, the Fauquier FFA has been around for a much shorter time than that. Starting in 1963, when the school was opened, it was still strictly for white farm boys. Only two years later, the New Farmers of America and the Future Farmers of America merged, allowing white and black farm boys to participate in the FFA together. Girls were still left out of the club and activities.
Female students disagreed with this, and one even went to the local newspaper, The Fauquier Democrat. She questioned why she couldn’t take agriculture classes and be in the FFA alongside the boys, and explained to the community why she felt this was unfair.
Virginia State FFA officers and National FFA officers started working on a solution to include girls into the Agriculture Department all around the country. Virginia State FFA President from 1969-1970 David Shiflett was the deciding vote on the movement that let girls into the FFA and changed the future of the club. Nearing the end of 1969 it was decided that girls could join the FFA and everyone would be included in agriculture. David’s cousin, John Shiflett, is the current Fauquier FFA Alumni Chapter President, and an agriculture substitute teacher at FHS.
As of 1988, the Future Farmers of America would change its name to the National FFA Organization. This was done in order to eliminate the stereotype that FFA was only a farming club because it’s an agriculture club. Now stretching from the state of Alaska to the Virgin Islands and from the state of Maine to Hawaii, the FFA is a national organization that teaches agriculture to younger generations.
Currently the Fauquier FFA has seven officers: President Becca Henegar, Vice President Izzy Kendrick, Student Advisor Hunter Brown, Secretary Alana Henegar, Reporter Cailyn Caine, Treasurer Claire Scaring, Sentinel Lauren Lowenbach and one mascot Mr. Shemp, who is a large brown broad breasted turkey.