by Philip Paramore
In the December 1934 issue of the Alabama Future Farmer magazine, the following about the 1934 National FFA Convention was reported.
"Some Highlights on the Seventh National Convention of F.F.A., October 20-26, 1934
"Nearly 4,000 students of vocational agriculture were registered at the American Royal Grounds and the Hotel Baltimore, headquarters. Forty-seven states and the Territory of Hawaii were represented. The attendance was the largest on record.
"The Board of Trustees was in session on October 19, 20, 21 and 22. The National Advisory Council and the State Advisers met on October 21.
"The official State F.F.A. band this year, consisting of 72 pieces, came from Utah. The boys made a wonderful showing. Their concert at the Public Speaking Contest and leading the arena parade were excellent, as were all other appearances. The band was in charge by L.R. Humphreys, State Supervisor, and was directed by Mr. N.W. Christensen. The members were recruited from 27 different centers in the state; every boy was a bona fide F.F.A. member having at least two years of vocational agriculture to his credit. There were soloists, duets, trios, quartettes, sextets and a glee club included in this band.
"There were 87 official delegates present. This was a record.
"Officers elected for 1934-35 were President – Andrew Sundstrom, Beresford, South Dakota; Vice President – L. Arrington, Twin Falls, Idaho; Vice President – C.A. Duplantis, Houma, Louisiana; Vice President – John Reisz, Owensboro, Kentucky; Vice President – George Meyers, Greencastle, Pennsylvania; and Secretary – ‘Jack’ Waller, Plant City, Florida.
"About 1,800 vocational agricultural students, most of whom were F.F.A. members, attended the buffet supper on October 23 – a record.
"About 2,500 participated in the parade, in the arena at the American Royal Grounds, following the buffet supper – also a record.
"There were 665 in attendance at the big banquet on the evening of October 24. The Midway Chapter of the Idaho Association furnished the potatoes and the Washington Association of F.F.A. furnished apples which were much appreciated by all present. Thanks are due these two associations and congratulations on their spirit.
"Results of the Chapter Contest as follows: First – Toyack Chapter, Roosevelt, Utah; Second – Sweet Springs Chapter, Sweet Springs, Missouri; Third – Waterville Chapter, Waterville, New York; Fourth – Calico Rock Chapter, Calico Rock, Arkansas. Runners up: N.A. Region — Presque Isle, Maine and Gouverneur, New York; Southern — Gold Sand, North Carolina and Ramer, Alabama; N. Central — Marshall, Missouri and Ottawa, Kansas; and Western — Boise, Idaho, and Chehalis, Washington.
"The Best Association Award went to the Hawaii Association of F.F.A. Honorable mention went to Louisiana, Montana, Arkansas, Tennessee, California, Ohio, Georgia, New Jersey and Virginia.
"By unanimous action the prize vocational agriculture lamb (under 90#) at the American Royal, produced by Harry Crandall, Jr., of Cass City, Michigan, was purchased for $19.34, dressed by Wilson and Company, and sent to President Roosevelt with the compliments of the F.F.A. Organization.
"It was decided all American Farmers, past, present and future, should receive certificates from the national organization.
"The F.F.A. will have representatives present this year at the National Grange and National Farm Bureau meetings
"The new blue corduroy jacket and swagger cap presented at the convention was adopted as official — military cap optional. The contract was awarded to the Universal Uniform Company of Van Wert, Ohio.
"All state reports, if given in the future at the national convention, are to be confined strictly to three minutes and will deal with the most outstanding events only.
"No action was taken on a national publication until the organization sees its way clear to handling the proposition efficiently and putting out a first class publication.
"It was the consensus of opinion of the delegates that the three-year period of active membership should be interpreted to mean three years after either leaving school or graduating from high school.
"The same delegate expense plan was endorsed for paying delegates’ way to the 1935 National Convention as was used for the 1934 Convention.
"The delegates were in favor of continuing the handbook proposal of last year and putting out an F.F.A. Recreational and Social Hand Book in addition to the Manual.
"The contract for felt goods went to The Staunton Novelty Company of Staunton, Virginia.
"The delegates voted unanimously to have the complete emblem (with the eagle at the top) used in all instances as the official emblem of the organization. It was the sense of the meeting that this in no way detracted from the degree key of the American Farmer since it was the key that distinguished the individual as an American Farmer rather than the Eagle surmounting the cross section of an ear of corn.
"The jewelry contact was renewed with the L.G. Balfour Company. Prices to be adjusted. For the past year the national organization has been ‘absorbing the shock’ due to increased cost of gold in order to hold prices at the same level.
"Permission was given the St. Louis Button Company to continue to manufacture metal markers but it was suggested the colors be made more resistant to the weather.
"It was decided the 1935 Convention should be three days in length but consideration should be given to setting the convention on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday instead of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
"An exhibition contest (Extemporaneous Public Speaking) will be staged at the 1935 Convention. It will not affect the present public speaking contest in any way; however, the national dues for 1934-35 remain at ten cents per year, but for 1935-36 the national dues will be 15 cents per member per year.
"The State Association Award, Chapter Contest, Star Farmer Award and Public Speaking Contest will all be continued in 1934-35.
"The national radio program will be continued on a basis similar to the past year.
"It was the opinion of both delegates and advisers that an organization for F.F.A. Alumni, where needed, should be encouraged, but on a chapter and state-wide basis only. It was the general feeling we should keep both member and public attention centered on the work of the present F.F.A. organization.
"No changes were made to the constitution, but several suggestions concerning the emblem and degree insignia were made. All suggestions were turned over to the Board of Trustees for study and recommendations at the next National Convention.
"Sixteen items were set up in the national program of work for 1934-35 and the complete program was sent out as F.F.A. Service Letter No. 79, under date November 6, 1934.
"The annual report form for the year ending June 30, 1934, will be very similar to that of last year with new national program of work items included.
"In the proceedings of the Seventh National Convention there will be a new division entitled, Joint Activities with the Ninth Annual Congress of Vocational Agriculture Students included in this publication.
"The public speaking contest rules will be liberalized, under the heading of eligibility, making it possible for departments having two-year vocational courses to get boys into the State Public Speaking Contest. Age limit is set at twenty-one years, and contestant must be enrolled in or have taken all the vocational agriculture offered in the school.
"The American Farmer Score Card is to be re-evaluated, giving more weight to investments in farming and to specify savings to be earned by the candidate.
"The 1935 Chapter Contest Rules will be about the same as last year, but programs of work (entries) will probably be called for by February 1."
Also in this issue, an Alabama FFA member received his American Farmer Degree.
"Edd Christian of Fernbank, Alabama—Eighteen years of age, he has had three years of vocational agriculture, receiving his State Farmer degree, in July, 1933 and graduating May, 1934. At the time of making application, Edd’s record shows he owned 1 dairy cow, 1 heifer, 1 bull, and a partnership interest in 4 mules, 3 cows, 1 heifer, 1 bull, 1 bred sow, 1 shoat, and a flock of White Leghorn chickens. He holds a 1/3 partnership interest in 154 acres of land used for crops and pasture. A 3 year supervised farming program in connection with his vocational agriculture course yielded him a labor income of about $220. His investment in farming is over $2,000. Edd plans to enter Mississippi State College for a course in Agricultural Education and Business, carrying on his farming work while in school. He has made many worthwhile improvements in the home farm in addition to his project work, including new farm buildings, light plant in home, soil improvement, and landscaping. His record shows evidence of farming ability and cooperation. His leadership ability is evidenced by his active participation in F.F.A., school, and church affairs. His scholarship record shows him to rank second in a class of 15 students."
In the February 1945 issue of the Alabama Future Farmer magazine, the following appeared about Edd Christian.
"We have just received notice that Capt. Edd B. Christian was killed in France on January 5 . Capt. Christian was an active member of the Millport Chapter during the time he was in high school. He was secretary of the State FFA Association for the year 1933-34. Following his graduation from Mississippi State in 1938 he served as teacher of vocational agriculture at Liberty in Pickens County for three and one-half years. He entered the Army in the spring of 1942."
Philip Paramore is an Education Specialist with the Alabama Department of Education.