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Why FFA? 2017 National FFA Week

Published on Thursday, February 23, 2017

Right now across the U.S., there are 650,000 FFA members celebrating National FFA Week. Each FFA member is a future professional in our agricultural industry, and here at Beck’s, we are proud to support them.

If you weren’t involved in FFA in school, you may not be familiar with all that they do other than drive their tractors to school and sport those blue corduroy jackets. Here’s the Cliffs Notes version to help bring you up to speed.

The National FFA Organization was founded in 1928 as the Future Farmers of America and worked to prepare future generations for the challenges of feeding a growing population. As the organization grew, they also wanted to welcome agriculturalists that weren’t necessarily farmers. The name was updated in 1988 to reflect the growing diversity and new opportunities in the industry of agriculture.

Since its beginning, millions of agriculture students have donned the official FFA jacket and championed the FFA Creed. Today, all 50 states and two U.S. territories are currently chartered members of the national organization.

Here at Beck’s, we support FFA through various scholarships, sponsorships and partnerships across the Midwest. The National FFA Center is just down the road in Indianapolis and we have strong ties to the national organization. We also support activities, educational farms, and events put on by local FFA chapters.

When the National FFA Convention comes to town, we do our best to roll out the red carpet and welcome FFA students to Indiana. Last year, we hosted about 100 students on Career Success Tours at our facility. Career Success Tours are a deep dive into technical careers where we are always looking for future leaders – our plant breeding, production agronomy, seed processing, and sales departments. An additional 350 students and advisors come to tour Beck’s on their way to Convention on Thursday. The Thursday tours are a general overview of operations at Beck’s – our history, mission, research, Practical Farm Research (PFR)®, and production departments. In both tours, students learn about our company culture and how the Beck’s family of employees comes to work every day to help farmers succeed. They watch Sonny Beck’s Why I Farm video and learn that if they love what they do, they will never work a day in their life.

We also hung FFA jackets belonging to 25 Beck’s employees in the atrium of the Research Building during FFA Convention tours.



Beck’s is a growing company, hiring over 100 people in the past year. As a Sales Development Lead, Craig Spray helps us find new prospective employees and values the skills honed in FFA.

“FFA teaches you the value of networking and helps to develop soft skills that we are all looking for in young professionals.” – Craig Spray

FFA alumni have influenced nearly every department here at Beck’s. Sonny Beck is a former State Officer here in Indiana. Tom Hooper, Beck’s Director of Business was Indiana District Ten Sentinel and then his parents moved and he was elected District Five Vice President. Beck’s Director of Research, Dr. Kevin Cavanaugh was his local Chapter President and State Farmer Degree holder.

“FFA taught me leadership skills at a young age that have carried through my experiences, even today. I am very thankful for my activities in FFA including public speaking, crops judging, and parliamentary procedure.” - Kevin Cavanaugh, Patrick Henry Chapter and State Farmer Degree holder

Bruce Kettler, our Director of Public Relations, is a former National Vice President and had the unique experience of meeting President Reagan during his time as a National Officer.


“One of the key things that I learned through FFA was to understand the significance and breadth of the agriculture industry to our country. This understanding then made me appreciate how many opportunities there are within the industry for young people to explore. I never could have predicted the many different roles and jobs that I have had in my career. Yet each was a step to build upon in expanding my view of this great industry. And what is really neat…I still see many opportunities from FFA after 30 years! – Bruce Kettler, past National FFA Vice President

Paul Jacobs, a Seed Advisor in northeast Indiana, is a former member of the National FFA Band, and Paul Compton, who works on our front counter, spent time as a member of the National FFA Choir.

Beck’s Product Specialist, Daniel Bechman was also an Indiana State Officer.

“The classwork and networking experience that I gained while studying for my degree in plant breeding and plant genetics have proven to be extremely beneficial to me in my career pursuits. But if you asked me to point to the time in my life that had the most impact on preparing me to be a professional in the seed industry, it would be my experiences in FFA.” – Daniel Bechman, Indiana FFA State Officer

These are just a few of the many employees at Beck’s who have been impacted by the great work being done by the National FFA Organization, state FFA programs, and local chapter advisors.

National FFA Week 2017 may be wrapping up, but we’re committed to supporting the efforts of FFA throughout the entire year. We hope everyone had a great FFA Week and we look forward to welcoming the future leaders of our industry during National Convention this fall. 



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Samantha Miller

Samantha Miller

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1 comments on article "Ag Education"

Scott Beck

2/26/2017 7:40 AM

Well done Samantha !

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