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Future Farmers of America in Cyberspace

(Indianapolis, IN) - The sky is now the limit for current and past members of the National Future Farmers of America to connect and help each other.   

 

A new online “Forever Blue Network” is in service to create opportunities for FFA members exploring career paths and former members looking for qualified individuals to fill job openings in areas like agriculture. The network also gives alumni a chance to mentor current members and users a forum to simply engage in casual conservation or develop friendships with others sharing common interests.

 

“It’s kind of a combination of Facebook and LinkedIn merged together to form this unique community that’s specific to just FFA,” said Joshua Rusk, executive director of National FFA Alumni and Supporters.

 

Rusk said the online network is also open to supporters of FFA headquartered at Indianapolis.

More than 1,600 people have created profiles since the network went online in the spring.

A lot more users are expected to join once word about the network spreads considering FFA has about 700,000 members and over eight million past members.   

 

There are more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

 

Rusk said the idea for the network surfaced more than a year ago from FFA students in a production agriculture committee looking for more convenient and effective ways to explore career paths.

 

Previously, Rusk said networking was pretty much restricted to physically

being at FFA conventions and other events or companies involved in their potential career choice.

 

“So, we started to look into how do we take this mentoring opportunity and make it an online experience versus someone doing it from their desk at the office,” he said. The network also provides categories for clicking open to find mentors, mentoring opportunities, job postings, internships, and other things like upcoming events. Rusk said the network can also come in handy to find schools offering FFA programs and like any social media site to learn other things like popular attractions and post pictures. “It creates a space to develop those personal communications and get ideas,” said National FFA spokesperson Kristi Meyer.

 

Rusk said the network will also be used to try and reach out to the over seven million past members without contact information on file with the organization to bring them up to date on FFA happenings.

 

He also said the network is a way to further the FFA mission of developing youth for success now and in the future.

 

“That was kind of the goal for what the network was for to grow the FFA community,” Rusk said.

Meyer said only present and past FFA members along with FFA supporters can join and they must apply at FFA.org.

 

FFA was founded in 1925 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute by agriculture teachers Henry C. Groseclose, Walter Newman, Edmund Magill and Harry Sanders.

 

It was originally known as Future Farmers of Virginia but in 1928 became a nationwide organization called Future Farmers of America.

 

FFA is presently the largest of the career and technical student organizations in schools in the U.S.

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