Lemoore Future Farmers of America celebrate 85 years at Lemoore High School

By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore FFA member Kelsie Cotta and her pig Stella at the 2014 Kings County Fair.
Lemoore FFA member Kelsie Cotta and her pig Stella at the 2014 Kings County Fair.

The Lemoore Future Farmers of America will be celebrating a birthday this year. On November 15, 2014, the Lemoore Chapter of the FFA will be 85 years old, and is currently the longest running club on campus.

It wouldn’t be a birthday party without a celebration, and with the help of the FFA’s boosters’ parents club, the local Ag organization will be having a birthday dinner on the actual date the Lemoore High FFA was chartered as an official National FFA Chapter.

The birthday event will be held on Saturday November 15 at the Lemoore Recreation Center on Cinnamon Drive (the old Candlewick), beginning at 6 p.m. social and 7 p.m. dinner. Tickets are only $25 per person with a no-host bar. The Lemoore FFA is encouraging the public, alumni and others to socialize with former teachers, past FFA members, and supporters.

The FFA is making a time capsule to collect items, pictures, memorabilia, and anything they can find to store away and open it at the 100th anniversary in 2029. They are looking for photos of alumni in FFA uniform, at contests, fair, news articles, and anything over the past 85 years.

If any former member of friend of FFA has any of these items and would like to share them, please photocopy them for the FFA to use and share at their event. Interested persons are also welcome to email them to the FFA as well. There will be a slide show of photos over the years and would love to have thousands of photos to share with everyone.

Anyone interested in attending the event is urged to contact KayDe Naylon at 924-6600, ext. 318 or email her at knaylon@luhsd.k12.ca.us.

The Lemoore FFA was chartered in 1929 by the National FFA and has been an ongoing presence at Lemoore High School since that date. It has always been one of the most popular organizations on campus. It currently has 540 students and five full-time agriculture teachers. Currently, Matt Moreno is the Chapter Advisor.

“The FFA helps students from all backgrounds be prepared citizens of the community,” said Moreno.  “FFA teaches life fundamentals of such things as shaking hands, giving eye contact to people while speaking, speaking in public and being professional, and the opportunity to see first-hand where and how their food is grown.”

The local chapter of the FFA takes pride in offering an array of classes from introductory agriculture classes to more advanced classes in Science, Biology, Floral Arts, Business, Mechanics, and Veterinary Science.

“Students are able to obtain life knowledge from these classes and get involved with the leadership side of the FFA and learn the about real life and career opportunities,” said Moreno. “Our goal for any student is for them to be successful in whatever they chose to do after high school: military, college, vocational tech school, job, or continuing the family farm or business.

“We believe all students can learn when they are engaged in a topic they can relate too. Everybody eats and wears clothes, therefore everyone is connected to agriculture and we want our students to be aware of the changing world of the industry and hopefully become leaders in the number one industry in the world.”

Actually there had been an agriculture presence at the high school well before the school joined the national FFA. Almost from Lemoore’s beginning in 1901, there was an Ag Club that students enthusiastically joined. In 1930 the club got its FFA charter and in 1930 the yearbook mention for the first time the FFA in the school’s yearbook.

In 1930 the FFA’s first president was Oswald Villi while a Mr. Hardin was the school’s advisor that year.

Over the past 85 years the Lemoore FFA has produced some outstanding leaders, both farmers and productive members of the public, as well as a few elected officials.

Lemoore Kings County Supervisor Joe Neves was one of those FFA alums who also served as Chapter President in 1976. “The Lemoore FFA gave me the opportunity to grow my decision making and leadership skills,” said Neves.  “Judging teams along with animal husbandry builds responsibility traits for an adult life. Farm power and Agricultural mechanics allowed me to develop skills and knowledge of the industry outside the family operation.”

Current Lemoore FFA President is Kelly Mellott, and she echoes much of what Neves said. “FFA is important to kids and agriculture in general because it teaches the coming generations about the issues that are big today,” she said.  “When the kids that are in the FFA now become old enough to vote, they will already have a knowledge and understanding of how the Ag industry should be running.  FFA helps students gain knowledge and understand the difference between producers and consumer.”

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