California FFA Foundation Highlights Increased Diversity and Next Generation of Ag Leaders; Katie Otto Comments
CALIFORNIA - Diversity is a value I hold near and dear to my heart, which is why it is so uplifting to see that the California FFA Foundation is garnering increased diversity as it continues to uplift the ag industry’s next generation of leaders.
“FFA may not have radical changes, but change happens,” said Katie Otto, Executive Director of Development for the California FFA Foundation. “And that’s not lost on our students and our leadership. We ask, are we providing opportunities for all students? Are we accessible? And how can we better meet kids where they’re at?”
As a press release highlighting the success of Roberto Lopez—a senior at Oakdale High School in Stanislaus County, stated—the FFA was an all-male, all-white organization for decades after its inception in 1928. That began to change in the 1960s, and Black members joined in 1965 when FFA merged with the segregated New Farmers of America, followed by women, who were first allowed to join in 1969. As the organization noted in the release, today, while 45 percent of members nationwide are female, nearly two-thirds of the membership is white.
California, however, has achieved an impressive level of diversity. According to FFA’s 2021-22 Fact Sheet, 45 percent of members were Hispanic, 40 percent were white, 10 percent were of two or more races, and 2.5 percent each were Black and Asian; in addition, 73 percent of its 98,912 members were women.
California FFA is supported by Farm Credit Alliance members AgWest Farm Credit, American AgCredit, CoBank, Colusa-Glenn Farm Credit, Fresno Madera Farm Credit, Golden State Farm Credit, and Yosemite Farm Credit.
“Farm Credit is a strong supporter of FFA and has donated over $600,000 in the past 30 years to help FFA fulfill its mission,” said Mark Littlefield, President and Chief Executive Officer of AgWest Farm Credit. “Farm Credit is committed to encouraging diversity and inclusion, and FFA’s evolution is especially important to reflect the current make-up of California farms. This will ensure that our farms and ranches and the rest of the ag industry continue to grow and prosper in the years to come.”
To read about FFA’s growing diversity stats, as well as the admirable drive of FFA student Roberto Lopez, click here.
More industry info is coming straight to you, so stay tuned.