|The FFA Sentinel|
|The FFA Sentinel|
The 1960s had approximately 70 million children from the post-war baby boom and the age of youth had come as these children became teenagers and young adults. The ideals of the conservative 1950s were waning and the revolutionary thinking and change in the social fabric of American life was upon us.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1962 that prayer in the public schools was unconstitutional. President Kennedy, in 1961, created the Peace Corps. The Flintstones, became television’s second primetime cartoon show in 1960. The Andy Griffith Show was the quintessence of primetime family viewing. Radio continued to be the primary means of listening to music. The major development in music listening was a change from AM to FM.
The Sentinel this month will feature the school years 1960-65. The October-November 1960 issue of The Alabama Future Farmer said H.N. Lewis, who became a long time state staff member in agriscience education, joined in 1960. Lewis worked with agriscience teachers in improving and enlarging the livestock programs in chapters throughout the state. He served as the state executive secretary from 1964-67.
The DAR High School at Grant operated a Grade A Dairy in the early 1960s under agriscience teacher P.M. Wilder and another school employee. (The dairy actually began in 1951.) Students were hired for extra help during busy seasons. Profit from the 22-cow operation was turned back to the 70-acre farm or used to buy supplies and equipment for the vo-ag department. A year-round land-usage program enabled all the roughage and much of the concentrates for the herd to be grown on the farm. Summer crops included coastal bermudagrass, star millet, alfalfa and corn. During the winter, oats, wheat, crimson clover and rye were grown. The dairy produced 9,422 pounds of milk in 1960 and 454 pounds of butter fat from the all-Jersey herd.
Dr. R.E. Cammack retired as the State Director of Vocational Education in December 1960. He was state supervisor and advisor of vocational agriculture from 1921 to 1945. J.F. Ingram replaced him. Ingram served as state supervisor of Trade and Industrial Education prior to being named State Vocational Director. Ingram was also the first "non-ag" person to become state director.
Jimmy Kelley was named Future Farmer of the Year for 1960. He was a member of the Luverne Chapter and his advisor was R.M. McGee.
The April-May 1961 Future Farmer featured the following editorial: "‘What Every Future Farmer Should Believe.’ The FFA boy is more important than the FFA project. The FFA is not trying to replace the home, the church and the school – but supplement them. To ‘learn by doing’ is fundamental in any sound educational program and characteristic of the FFA program. Learning how to do projects is more important than the project itself. Many things are caught rather than taught. Competition in FFA work should be recognized as a natural human trait but should be given no more emphasis than other fundamentals in FFA. A blue-ribbon FFA boy with a red-ribbon pig is more desirable than a red-ribbon boy with a blue-ribbon pig. No FFA award is worth sacrificing the reputation of an FFA member or advisor. A Future Farmer should be his own exhibit. There is generally more than one good way of doing most things. Every FFA member needs to be noticed, to feel important, to win and to be praised. FFA members must be taught HOW to think; not WHAT to think."
The 1961 State Convention had 261 Chapters representing 14,416 members. Approximately 900 members attended the Convention. There were 285 State Farmer Degrees presented.
Floyd H. Mann, state director of the Department of Public Safety, challenged members to drive and operate motor vehicles safely. His challenge was a theme for the 1961-62 school year and was highlighted in the year’s Future Farmer magazines.
The February-March 1962 Future Farmer featured an article on Dr. J.J. Hicks, owner of Briarhill Angus Farm, Union Springs, who donated 15 Angus bulls for the Sears Roebuck Bull Chain. (The bull chain began in 1948 when the Sears Roebuck Foundation donated money to start the program.) By 1962, more than 230 top purebred bulls of all breeds had been placed in Alabama communities. The bulls were to remain in the community for three years, then were to be sold and $250 of the sale price was to be returned back to the state association to keep the bull-chain alive. Fifteen bulls were usually placed in the chain each year.
Hicks entered the program in 1958 with the donation of five bulls. 1962 was the first year he donated all 15 bulls to the association. Money that would have been used to purchase the bulls was given to the Chapters receiving the bulls to cover part of the feed bill to grow out and prepare them for the Purebred FFA Bull Show at the South Alabama Fair (now Alabama National Fair) in Montgomery.
As an added help to FFA members, Hicks held a field day on the care, management and other related needs of bulls. He sponsored the field day for the next several years. By 1963, Hicks had donated 52 Angus bulls to the Sears Roebuck FFA Program. Hicks also donated heifers to various Chapters for the establishment of purebred Angus herds.
The 1962-63 final membership according to the April-May Future Farmer was 15,785. The top five Chapters were Northport, 150 members; Jasper, 133 members; West Point, 127 members; Arab, 125 members; and Foley, 124 members.
Raymond C. Firestone, President, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, described Future Farmers in an editorial in the October-November 1963 Future Farmer. "He believes first of all that he lives in the greatest country in the world and he is willing to accept his share of responsibility for keeping it great. He believes in working for what he gets and feels he is entitled to receive a just reward for what he produces. He is self-reliant, but at the same time cooperative and willing to help others. He is not afraid because he depends upon God, himself and his faith in his initiative and ambition. Fear seldom finds a foothold on an active free-thinking mind. He respects the rights of others and expects others to respect his rights. If his rights are threatened, he is not afraid to fight. He has honest pride in the success he has won. Above all he is proud to be an American."
In 1963, Mickey Humphries of the Reeltown Chapter was elected state vice president. Humphries is the new state FFA advisor and program manager for Agriscience Education, Career and Technical Education, State Department of Education.
The forerunner of the State Steer Show was the State Fat Calf Show and Sale. The show had been held for several years in Birmingham. But according to the April-May 1963 issue of the Future Farmer, the first state show held at Montgomery was in the Coliseum in March of that year. The average price paid for the calves (not including the Champion and Reserve Champion) was 27.51 cents per pound. Altogether there were 374 steers exhibited by FFA and 4-H members from 22 counties. The Champion Steer brought $1.70 per pound and the Reserve Champion brought $2.20 per pound. Four calves graded prime; 175 graded choice; and 190 graded good.
Alabama native Wilson Carnes who served as editor of the National Future Farmer Magazine was a featured speaker at the 1963 State FFA Convention.
Three men joined the state staff in September 1964. J.C. Hollis, who later became State Supervisor and State FFA Advisor, joined as did B.J. York and J.E. Smith. Hollis was assigned the Northeast District, York the Southwest District and Smith the Northwest District.
The 1965 State Star Farmer was Michael Reynolds of the Union Springs Chapter and the Future Farmer of the Year was Bill Smith of the Chavala (Seale) Chapter. As the social climate of the United States continued to revolutionize so did the FFA. Next time we’ll explore some of these changes.