Thu., September 15, 2011 2:34pm (EDT)

Ranks Of 'Future Farmers' Soar
By Josephine Bennett
Updated: 3 years ago

MACON, Ga.  —  
Georgia FFA members attend leadership conference in Washington, D.C. in June 2011 (photo courtesy Georgia FFA)
Georgia FFA members attend leadership conference in Washington, D.C. in June 2011 (photo courtesy Georgia FFA)
More young Americans than ever are seeking agricultural education through the FFA, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America. And in Georgia the numbers are climbing even faster.

For the 13th straight year FFA membership grew in the Peach state. More than 31-thousand young people are now members, an increase of more than one thousand students since just last year.

Georgia’s program is the third largest in the U.S. behind California and Texas. Ben Lastly leads the Georgia FFA and says it’s attracting more kids in agricultural science and biotechnology.

“Not every student is going to have interest or the facilities to raise and show livestock. We’ve got to make sure that we have opportunities that we can market to students who have other interests.”

Lastly says budget cuts have removed some funding for teachers who work with students after-hours, and for travel to competitions.