Impact of the New Farmers of America (NFA) on selected past members: A historical narrative

Dexter Bernard Wakefield, Purdue University

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation was to select and interview past members of the NFA in establishing a written historical narrative on issues relating to the impact the NFA had on these individuals and to gather detailed background information on the NFA. The New Farmers of America (NFA) was a separate entity from the Future Farmers of America (FFA) prior to 1965. They had a thriving organization with their own organizational structure, officers and contests. Many of the goals of the NFA were the same as the FFA. In 1965, the NFA merged with the FFA. ^ The research questions for this study were: (1) to determine what activities of the NFA contributed to or distracted from the leadership development or success of the NFA member as a leader, (2) determine what impact has the NFA (versus other sources) had on the development of each past NFA member as a leader, and (3) and to determine what aspect(s) or program(s) of the NFA (that was lost after the merger) could be incorporated into the FFA where minority issues are of concern. ^ Major findings of this study were: (1) the participants believed that the agricultural teacher played an important role in their leadership development that helped them to lead and manage programs, and develop human relation skills, (2) the participants believed that the NFA and the FFA were similar, but after the merger there was a lack of Black leadership in the FFA organization, (3) the participants expressed the notion that neither Black nor White teachers were doing as much for all students after the merger and that the interest of the student was no longer a priority for many of the teachers, and (4) the participants believed that the merging of the two organizations was inevitable due to societal and educational integration that was going on in the 1960s. ^ Based upon the conclusions it was implied that a lack of forethought and effort in maintaining Blacks in leadership positions led to poor morale and a loss of identity among Black students enrolled in the FFA; therefore the National FFA Organization should hire an outside agency to determine the accessibility of leadership positions to professionals of color. Furthermore, the agency should publish their findings and recommendations for review by the FFA Board of Directors and its members. ^

Degree

Ph.D.

Advisors

Major Professor: B. Allen Talbert, Purdue University.

Subject Area

History, Black|Education, Agricultural|Education, History of

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