FFA is more than what students think


Most students have never thought much about our Judson FFA program other than thinking it was for students who wanted to be farmers but their thinking is not quite accurate.

FFA President Vanessa Bell wants students to know more about the program and how the program impacts students. Judson FFA currently has 600 plus FFA members enrolled in agriculture classes, and it is quickly growing. 

“It’s crazy to believe how much it (FFA Program) stretches out because it expands so much beyond livestocks and AG,” Bell said. “People automatically think it’s about raising… 100% with cattle and livestock, and it bothers me,” Bell said. “I myself have been so involved in a lot of different aspects in FFA, and it’s a thing I want to change to show that we are not all devoted to raising livestock.”

Besides raising animals, students can take a veterinary class with Ms.Henderson, a  floral design class with Ms.Verstuyft, or a horticulture class with Ms.Lohse. Students who like being hands-on and getting dirty, they can join AG Mechanics with Mr.Trees. There’s even food science with Mrs. Esparza.

“We have four pathways. First is AG Mechanics, and it’s super amazing. We have two big labs where you learn shop safety, woodwork, electrical, plumbing, welding, and even tractor tech. Secondly, we have a Horticulture and Plant System pathway with a greenhouse where you learn how to do landscaping, gardening, floral design and plant science. Thirdly, we have our Animal Systems pathway, we focus more on veterinary medicine, and you can go all the way to get your Certified Veterinary Assistant which is very helpful and looks good on your resume. Lastly, is our Food science Pathway. We have a huge lab where we focus on bushering, food safety, and food handling which is super fun,” Bell said.

FFA is a program that keeps members active in school all year long in various ways. Just looking at Bell’s current FFA commitments, one can see how diverse the department really is.

“I’m currently in the floral design team, food science team, and about to present my science fair for the last two times in a couple months,” Bell said. 

FFA students can be a part of many teams and compete in district and area within the FFA community in different ways. For instance, each year seven FFA officers and several delegates are elected in order to serve our chapter and to learn leadership skills. Bell is in one of those leadership positions.

“I’m the president, and also I am the Student of the Month, Area 7 Sub Committee Chair, so that takes a lot of my time,” Bell said.

Besides the FFA curriculum and activities, students also learn life experiences such as responsibility, time management, and much more. For Bell, she says it’s not about what students do, but what they get from it that carries students beyond graduation.

“I definitely learned a lot and grew as a person like leadership. Also, I started focusing more on helping others and really helping my community,” Bell said. “In the future, I for sure want to carry everything that I have learned with me because my FFA experiences are very dear to my heart.”

Judson FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Any student interested in these programs should speak to their counselor soon.