National FFA Week is the (second) most wonderful time of the year for me as an FFA Member and Niman Ranch Farmer! I serve as our FFA chapter’s Vice President, and help to plan many of the events that go on throughout this celebratory week. Our activities align with their motto: “Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve”.
The Palmyra High School FFA lives to serve by 4:00 am on Thursday morning, when the officer team gets to school. We serve breakfast to community businesses and individuals who help make our FFA program possible. It’s an amazing morning of giving back to those who give so much. Some other events that went on throughout the week include church activities, bowling, movie night, barn warming (or the FFA dance), and my favorite – Official Dress Day.
Official Dress Day is all around an amazing day. FFA members proudly wear their jackets to school, and for many of the greenhands, it is their first time displaying the blue corduroy. It’s especially an honor for the newer members who walk around school that day with their heads held high, proud to be in that hot and uncomfortable, yet wonderful, jacket for the day. I remember the first time I put on my jacket, although I had some issues with sizing. I remember having ordered a custom sized jacket (to fit my long torso & arms), but somehow the wrong measurements were sent in to National FFA. My jacket arrived about 8 weeks later, and fit me like a crop top! It was so short through the torso. I had to wait another long 8 weeks for my new (and perfectly fitting) jacket. The super tiny & short jacket is still hanging in the closet in the ag building – a reminder of my first experience in the blue corduroy and how far I’ve come since then.
I am especially proud to say that I am an FFA member, not just this week, but every week of the year, because just like the FFA creed states, I too believe in the future of agriculture.
Ruthie Carpenter raises hogs for Niman Ranch with her family while attending high school. She is currently Vice President of her FFA Chapter and has spoken about her experiences as a young farmer at the Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner.