|The FFA Sentinel|
The December Sentinel article featured highlights from the Alabama FFA Association’s first year of existence, which was July 1929 to July 1930. The Sentinel article this month contains some of the minutes from the first State Convention held on July 11 and 12, 1930.
"Executive Committee Meeting
"The Executive Committee of the Alabama Association of the Future Farmers of America met at Auburn on July 11. There was a full attendance of the committee. Those present were Earl Solomon, president; Kilmer Page, vice president; Oliver Manning, secretary; Jim Espy, treasurer; Lloyd Ezell, reporter; R.E. Cammack, adviser.
"The first order of business was the consideration of a budget for the ensuing year. A budget was worked out and adopted on the basis of a total membership for the coming year of 1,550 as a minimum. The Executive Committee anticipated an increase in the number of chapters from 69 to at least 100. All estimated expenditures were agreed upon and approved.
"The Committee considered three amendments to the constitution and agreed these amendments would be recommended to the House of Delegates for consideration.
"Nine applications for the State Farmer degree were reviewed. The qualifications of the applicants for this degree were found satisfactory and it was agreed to recommend them for this degree to the House of Delegates the following day.
"House of Delegates
"The meeting was called to order at eight o’clock on Saturday morning, July 12, 1930, in Langdon Hall by the President, Mr. Earl Solomon. This was followed by the singing of America. Invocation was pronounced by Mr. Earle Thomas, local adviser for the Isabella Chapter.
"The President gave his annual address, after which he introduced Dr. Bradford Knapp, President of Alabama Polytechnic Institute, who spoke on cooperative effort among farmers. During the course of his address, he welcomed the meeting to Auburn and expressed a hope that the Executive Committee would decide upon Auburn as a permanent meeting place. He also offered every facility at Auburn for entertaining this organization at its annual meeting. He expressed a hope that at some date not too far distant Auburn might have camping and outdoor swimming facilities to offer the Future Farmers during their annual session.
"The next number on the program was an address by Dean Funchess, in which he outlined things of interest on Experiment Station.
"At 10:15, the meeting adjourned for a tour of the grounds, buildings and Experiment Station.
"At 12:05 (the same day), an address was broadcast by the President of the Association. Here are some excerpts from his address.
"We are now holding at Auburn our first state meeting of a new organization for high school farm boys. The name of this organization is the F.F.A. It means the Future Farmers of America.
"I shall attempt to give you a few facts relative to the growth and accomplishments of the past year and some of our plans for the future.
"This organization started in Virginia five years ago. From the F.F.V., Future Farmers of Virginia, it soon grew into the F.F.A., Future Farmers of America. Forty out of 48 states of the Union have statewide organizations. There have been held two national conventions.
"In Alabama, there are 113 departments of vocational agriculture. Sixty-nine of them have F.F.A. chapters with a total enrollment of 1,249 boys. It is probable this meeting will cause other departments to organize F.F.A. chapters.
"The purpose of this meeting is to get our statewide organization going; to exchange ideas; to develop fellowship; and to go back to our local chapters with new ideas and enthusiasm, and with some conception of the bigness of our organization.
"The rapid growth of our organization is explained by the fact that it meets a need of the farm boy. Everybody has a certain amount of social or fraternal craving which must be satisfied in some way or other. There are Boy Scout organizations in the town which take care of this need of town boys. Through the F.F.A., the farm boy will get many things which the town boy gets through scout work.
"The organization will make cordial and effective the relation between the boy and the teacher of agriculture. It will make possible better agricultural instruction because it is a part of the member’s obligation to promise when he joins to work out a good agricultural project and to keep a neat, accurate record of the same. This is a part of the first degree or, as we call it, the ‘Green Hand’ degree. The next degree is known as the ‘Future Farmer’ degree. In this, the boy obligates himself to help the teacher in various ways in building up and working out an agricultural program for the community.
"The organization promotes thrift, too, in that the different degrees require different amounts of money productively invested. The first degree called ‘Green Hand’ requires no investment. The second degree called ‘Future Farmer’ requires members to have $25 invested in some productive farm enterprise. The third degree ‘State Farmer’ requires the boy have $200 invested. Thrift is also promoted by cooperative buying and selling of farm commodities.
"One purpose of the club is to develop leadership among farm people. Many of our farm organizations in the past have gone on the rocks for lack of rural leaders. In this club, boys are trained for leadership by actively taking part in whatever the club sponsors; by holding offices in the local chapters; by being thrown on their own initiative in working out the undertakings proposed by the club; by being active in initiating movement in the club; and, too, the numbers develop leadership by doing. They learn by doing. This is seen in the local program of work. Most every club undertakes something that will make farm life better. Among such movements are screening farm houses, building sanitary toilets, installing waterworks. Such jobs as these, and many others, are done as a part of class instruction.
"This club furnishes recreation of the highest type for the boys. This may be in the form of judging contests, agricultural tours, father and son banquets, athletic contests, socials, etc. This develops as part of cooperation. The boys learn that if they pull together it is much easier to accomplish things. A state program has been set up which contains 11 very worthwhile items. Thus we have a plan for our development.
"We feel the Future Farmers of America is sure of steady advancement:
"First, because it is a lively organization with regular meetings in local, state and national chapters.
"Second, we are on a sound financial basis. We have operated on a budget for the first year and go into our second year with a small balance.
"Third, it has a splendid creed. Listen to it.
‘I believe in the beauty of God’s open country and that life out-of-doors and in-touch with nature is the natural life of man.
‘I believe that work is work wherever we find it, but work with nature is more inspiring and challenging.
‘I believe opportunity comes to a boy on the farm as often as the boy in the city.
‘I believe my success depends not upon my location, but upon myself; not upon my dreams, but what I actually do; not upon luck, but upon pluck.
‘I believe in working when I work and playing when I play, giving and demanding a square deal at all times.’
"The outlook for the future is bright. I think we will have 100 chapters in Alabama by the end of 1930. About five boys will graduate from each club yearly. So we shall soon have 500 Future Farmers of American going out into the life of our state every year. May we not expect they will carry with them some of the values they learned in this club? They will be active. They will pull together for the betterment of rural conditions, for they will have learned that ‘a mule can’t pull while kicking, neither can he kick while pulling.’
"The following matters of business were transacted by the House of Delegates and passed by unanimous vote.
"1. State colors. It was decided at the meeting of the Executive Committee to submit to the House of Delegates for its consideration the adoption of the colors of the state agricultural college as the colors of the Future Farmers of Alabama. The colors are orange and blue.
"2. F.F.A. chapter at Auburn. The Executive Committee recommends an F.F.A. chapter be established at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, to be composed of active members of F.F.A. who are enrolled in agricultural courses at the college. It is further recommended the details of the organization and the conduct of the chapter shall meet the approval of the State Adviser.
"3. State and national dues – time of payment. It is recommended by the Executive Committee that Article VIII, Section A, of the State Constitution be amended to read as follows: ‘Active state dues shall be 25 cents per member per year, and national dues, 10 cents per member per year. The total, 35 cents per member per year, to be paid to the state treasurer no later than November 1 for all active members on that date, and April 1 for all who become active members following November 1.’
"4. Method of electing officers. The Executive Committee recommends the State Constitution be amended to read as follows: ‘The State President shall appoint a nominating committee each year at the first session of the annual meeting to nominate officers for the incoming year.’
"5. A synopsis of records of candidates for the State Farmer degree was presented to the House of Delegates and all candidates were approved for the degree.
"The Treasurer, Mr. Jim Espy, reported that during the past year the total receipts were $438.60. The disbursements amounted to $374.39, leaving an ending balance of $64.21.
"The Secretary, Mr. Oliver Manning, reported, ‘Alabama has secured its charter from the national organization and has in turn chartered 69 local chapters. There are 1,249 active members in the organization.’
"The following officers were elected for the year 1930-31: President – Julous Connell, Blountsville; Vice President – C.W. Mason, Cherokee; Secretary – Harvey Milligan, Ramer; Treasurer – Philip Thomas, Athens; Reporter – Marvin M. Durbin, Isabella; Adviser – R.E. Cammack.
"The meeting was adjourned at 9 o’clock. Just prior to the adjournment the President called on the State Adviser for a few remarks."Philip Paramore is an Education Specialist with the Alabama Department of Education.