Listen, Learn, Grow

The Minnesota FFA Association, FFA Foundation, and Department of Education are committed to long term change as we listen, learn, and grow to ensure FFA is an organization where there is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind.

As the future of agriculture, food, and natural resources careers, we know it is essential for leaders from all backgrounds to be prepared for and engage in the pursuit of solutions that serve all communities and cultures. That starts with us as our students of every race, religion, orientation, and background are respected, supported, valued, and celebrated.

We support our black, indigenous, and students of color. We are committed to creating a bright future for agriculture.

 

We are the future of agriculture. We are Minnesota FFA.

Message from Minnesota FFA State Advisor:

November 6, 2021

​The purpose of FFA is to make a positive difference in the lives of students. At the 2021 National FFA Convention, students’ and guests’ use of inappropriate behavior and language has reinforced our belief that both a difference is needed and a difference can be made through FFA. In Minnesota, FFA has been and remains committed to creating an environment where all people are respected, included, and safe. We are creating policies for events and plans of action to support student development in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are prioritizing educational resources for students and teachers that support their ability to navigate differences, interrupt harassment, and thrive in our current and future communities. 

 

Racism, sexism, and any other discriminatory behaviors are not in line with our values at Minnesota FFA and are not tolerated by our organization and student leaders.

 

FFA members “make a positive difference in the lives of others; respect the rights of others and their property; [are] courteous, honest, and fair with others; communicate in an appropriate, purposeful and positive manner; and appreciate and promote diversity in our organization” (National FFA Constitution). Individual actions otherwise are a violation of the FFA Code of Ethics. Violations of the Code of Ethics will be reported to local school administrators for disciplinary action.

 

FFA chapter activities must be “in harmony with the ideals and purposes of the national organization” and state association, including a commitment “to seek and promote inclusion and diversity in its membership, leadership, and staff to reflect the belief of FFA in the value of all human beings” (National FFA Federal Charter). Upon receipt of “evidence of infringements on the provisions of the State or National Constitutions,” Minnesota FFA will “suspend” local chapters, resulting in a loss of privileges including participation in conferences, conventions, CDEs and LDEs, and other programs of Minnesota and National FFA (Minnesota FFA Constitution).

Dr. Zane Sheehan

Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota FFA State Advisor

Message from the Minnesota FFA State Officer team

October 21, 2020

Members of our state officer team come from fourth generation farm families, grew up on a reservation, are already enlisted in the National Guard, and are children of Southeast Asian refugees. We are passionate about leadership – and we are passionate about people. Even with all the different stories our team represents, we still cannot speak for every student, but we can stand up for every student.

This week, all eyes are on Minnesota. The tragedy and violence are happening in our state and in our communities where our FFA members live. This isn’t happening to other people in another time – it’s a call to action for us: right here and right now.

It can be hard to know what to say or how to fix the problems that are happening – but just because something is hard doesn’t mean we don’t do it. As the sentinel, it’s my job to make sure our doors are open to our friends at all times and that they are welcome – in order to do that, it’s clear that we need to commit to creating a space for students – specifically students of color and from our native communities – to develop leadership and find their place in agriculture. We need to make sure our chapters, meeting rooms, schools, and even online discussions are welcoming and safe places that we are actually willing to make better. That probably means we need to grow, learn, and listen. That’s not a bad thing. We are committed to doing that.

We also know that FFA members are so often committed to action. We want to know what to do – right now – to fix things. But here’s what we’re encouraging you to do: listen, give yourself permission to feel uncomfortable. Talk to your teachers or parents. Read a book from a different perspective.

 

Many of us may have the ability to conduct a socially distanced food drive or even make a donation from a chapter greenhouse or garden. If we can be generous, let’s be generous without looking for any credit and keep our focus on meeting needs without needing attention. 

We ran for state office because we believed that FFA can make a difference in anybody’s life, and we wanted to give back to the organization that gave us so much. One of the best ways any of us can do that is assuring that every student has the opportunities we got - and we are committed to assuring that no matter where you come from or what you look like, you realize how important you are to Minnesota FFA. This year, we are going to do whatever it takes to make sure that's true.

Listening, learning, and growing,

Anna, Ben, Elaina, Emilee, Laney, and Noah.