National Wear Blue Day to Celebrate National FFA Week

Across the nation this week National FFA week has been celebrated.  FFA is one of the three parts of an integrated agricultural education program which also includes classroom instruction and a supervised agricultural experience (SAE).  With the exception of myself, all members of my immediate family have been involved with FFA.  So, I thought today would be a good day to share some pictures of the blue jackets. Emily, or I should say Miss Van Manen, is still involved as she is currently student teaching at Newton Senior High School under the direction of Mr. Horn. She left for school early this morning in order to assist the FFA officers as they prepared breakfast for the faculty as one of the activities to celebrate National FFA week.

It has been fun to witness Miss Van Manen prepare for her teaching experience each day! In the picture below you find Emily (Miss Van Manen)  with her students.  In front of Miss Van Manen(2nd from right) is Logan.  Logan is our neighbor and he has worked for us for the last four  years as part of his SAE project – that could be an entire blog post!


Miss Van Manen with her FFA students at the Iowa State Capitol.

Following is  a little background and definition of FFA:

The letters “FFA” stand for Future Farmers of America. These letters are a part of our history and our heritage that will never change. But FFA is not just for students who want to be production farmers; FFA also welcomes members who aspire to careers as teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners and more. For this reason, the name of the organization was updated in 1988 after a vote of national convention delegates to reflect the growing diversity and new opportunities in the industry of agriculture.

Today, the National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet those challenges by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of agricultural career pathways. So today, we are still the Future Farmers of America. But, we are the Future Biologists, Future Chemists, Future Veterinarians, Future Engineers and Future Entrepreneurs of America, too. – National FFA website

Now for a few pictures that highlight the FFA experiences of my family as they proudly wore the blue jackets.

Read about Miss Van Manen in the Newton Daily News as she shares her FFA experiences and explains why she is doing what she is doing today!


“Van Manen hopes for future in ag education and FFA”  was the caption in the Newton Daily News and “Major Change” was the headline of the article in the Central Iowa AG Mag  that featured Emily in March 2014.


Emily and her friend Kristin Samson prepare to walk in the FFA Parade of Champions at the Iowa State Fair.


One of my favorites of Emily taken during her senior picture photo shoot by Four Seasons Photography


Emily and her friend Mikalya Vos


Cousin Dillon and Emily


Jacob was not quite as active in FFA as Emily; however, he really enjoyed exhibiting at the Iowa State Fair and won several awards in the horticulture division.  He still enjoys gardening and competing in the horticulture open class division at the Iowa State Fair.

Jacob’s love of gardening and his passion for the sweet corn business can be linked to his interest from his FFA projects and inspiration from his FFA advisor, Mr. Lowry.


Photo credit to Joe Murphy, Iowa Soybean Association

Kate was an active member of the Sioux Central FFA in NW Iowa.  She and Emily both had the opportunity to be presidents of their respective FFA chapters.


And…last but not least – here is Kevin in his FFA jacket in 1978.  Emily had fun last night modeling her dad’s jacket and comparing pins on their jackets, and comparing the colors of the emblems and lettering.


If FFA was or is still a part of your life, I hope this blog post brings to mind some of your own memories.  On the other hand, if you do not know much about FFA, I hope you have learned a few things.

Happy National FFA week and have a great Friday!



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