By: Victoria Talcott
Have you ever asked anyone how their experience was in FFA? If so, you most likely would have received an answer of how much they enjoyed being in the organization with all of the great learning and leadership opportunities plus all of the new friends they were able to make. When interviewing my Grandpa, Marvin Wood, this is exactly the answers I received plus more!
The Palmyra FFA Chapter began in 1957. In 1958, my Grandpa, Marvin Wood, became a member of the Palmyra FFA Chapter with about 30 other students. Once he was a junior, he became the President of his chapter. He told me about how it was tough to be President because at that time he was shy and didn’t look forward to having to lead the meetings and banquet. While he was the President he had a great learning experience and became a better leader. To become President of the chapter the other students would just vote compared to today where students are usually voted in by their peers and also go through an interview process. When he was a senior, he became the secretary. That same year was the first year that the FFA chapter bought jackets for the officers. The jacket in the picture is the one he received in 1961. As you can see, not much has changed other than the yellow color on the jacket. During his time in the Palmyra FFA he attended many different judging contests. When he attended State Convention, it was a big deal. In fact, when he attended State Convention he had pizza for the first time in his life at Valentino’s.
He was a part of the first labor auction during his time in FFA. At the auction he brought $5 to go towards the chapter fundraising. While in FFA, the chapter had a hog program. The hog program was where each student could raise a gilt then farrow her out. Once she had baby pigs the student would give two baby pigs back to the chapter for two other students to raise. He didn’t take part in this project, but his brother did. Some of the pigs raised through the program were also used to be butchered for the annual pancake feed.
Hearing his stories is crazy to think that what he started in FFA is still going on today. At the time, he may not have felt like he was making an impact on the school and community by taking part in FFA, but he definitely was because what he did in FFA is still done today. When I was in FFA, we still had the labor auction and pancake feed. We don’t still have the hog program, but it is a great idea for the future.
My Grandpa (Marvin Wood), Dad and Mom (Norris and Lynnet Talcott), and my Brother (Garret Talcott) and I all took part in FFA. Along with my Grandpa’s Brother, Aunt, and Uncles. Those three generations all took part in FFA at Palmyra other than my Dad. In the three generations, the FFA program only had three FFA advisors. In those three generations, my Grandpa’s Brother, Wayne Wood, was the first Palmyra FFA member to become a State Farmer, my Uncle, Roy Wood, was the first Palmyra FFA member to become a State STAR farmer, my Dad, Norris Talcott, won State STAR Farmer from Norris FFA, and I was a state STAR finalist in Production.
In FFA now, 47% of members are women and 50% of the leadership roles are taken on by women. When my Grandpa was in FFA girls were not allowed. Instead they would be in FHA. When my Mom began her FFA experience, she only had two other girls in it with her. The crazy thing is that when I was a senior at Palmyra all of the officers were girls for FFA for the first time.
Reminiscing on the past and present is a great way to see how much the organization has grown for FFA Week. Now I hope you start asking your family and friends about what they did in FFA because you might learn something you have never known about!