INDIANAPOLIS -- The National FFA Organization has had a banner year in 2006 with a successful inaugural 79th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, new community partnerships with a first-ever National Day of Service, and plans for a $3.5 million dollar expansion to house the FFA Merchandise Operations Division opening in June 2007.

"We are positioning ourselves to grow and help support the expansion of agricultural education and FFA chapters nationwide," said Doug Loudenslager, chief operating officer for the organization. "We hope to see the current 7,242 FFA chapters grow to 10,000 chapters by 2015."

Today, there are 495,046 FFA members, aged 12-21, in 7, 242 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This year marks a 28-year membership high, and 38 percent of FFA members are female, with women holding more than 50 percent of state leadership positions.

More than 11,000 FFA advisors and agriculture teachers deliver an integrated model of agricultural education providing students with innovative and leading-edge education, enabling them to grow into competent leaders.

FFA classroom activities include math and science as well as hands-on work experience and the development of life skills helping them to discover their career path and realize success. Collectively, FFA members earn more than $4 billion annually through their hands-on work experience.

Other 2006 highlights are:

  • The 2006 National FFA Convention was host to a record 54,489 members, FFA advisors and FFA supporters.

  • The FFA National Agricultural Career Show had a record 370 exhibitors in 1,282 booth spaces in 128,200 net square feet of show space.

  • The number of American Degrees rewarded to FFA members was a record 3,055 recipients.

  • More than 600 volunteers from across the country and the Indianapolis community joined together to facilitate the national FFA convention.

  • The National FFA Foundation announced a million dollar sponsor in 2007 from Ford Motor Company.

  • 2,000 sponsors provided more than $12.2 million for FFA and agricultural programs and activities in 2006.

  • More than 2,000 agricultural education students benefited from FFA scholarships in 2006.

  • The National FFA Foundation launched a new website to help teachers, parents and school leaders get the most from FFA's new LifeKnowledge leadership curriculum at

  • FFA Today!, FFA's visual showpiece to the nation, continued its broadcast on RFD-TV satellite network with entertaining monthly one-hour shows and 30 hours of live broadcast from the national convention.

  • The FFA Seeds of Hope campaign donated $835,699 to needy FFA chapters in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Texas who sustained extensive damage from the 2005 hurricanes.

  • FFA is a national youth organization of 495,046 student members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture with 7,242 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

    SOURCE: FFA news release.