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Family 411: FFA Organization

CINCINNATI (Sheila Gray) -- Family farms are an American tradition and these days they're getting smaller in size and number.

But young people are still choosing careers connected to farms.  Ryan Linville didn't grow up on a farm, doesn't live on one now but he spends a lot of days and nights on one.

Ryan's a member of the National FFA Organization.  His steers and cows are his club project.  The census of agriculture said the U.S. lost about 100,000 farms between 2007 and 2012.  Yet the FFA is attracting more high school students than ever before.

Adviser Pam Zeller said, "FFA is more about leadership. Because of the scope of agriculture careers, it's not just farming anymore."
   
Zeller has been an FFA adviser for 20 years, "People are interested in what's in their food, what's being put on their food."
   
That translates into opportunities for young people with careers in food science, the pet industry, pharmaceuticals, meteorology, and even agricultural safety for homeland security.  Madison Rechtin's hopes communication and computer skills she's learning in FFA translate into a broadcasting career.

Madison said, "It has taught me responsibility. I have learned to build leadership skills. I have learned to work on a team."
   
Madison doesn't live on a farm either, but has a part-time job working with horses.  Ryan doesn't know what he wants to do with the skills he's learning, but for now he's earning money for college with the sale of his livestock.
   
Sixty thousand children across the U.S. are members of FFA, learning a work ethic advisers say will stick with them for life.

CLICK HERE for a link to the FFA Organization.

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