Livermore High School’s Future Farmers

The Future Farmers of America (FFA) program is an active program at Livermore High School. The FFA was founded in 1928 to bring students, teachers, and agribusinesses together to solidify support for agricultural education. The program is also dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by helping to develop leadership skills, personal growth, and success in their careers. 

LHS is the only high school in Alameda county that still offers the FFA program. The FFA program is currently available in 334 high schools in California and enrolls more than 89,000 students. 

FFA is a very diverse organization. Something that makes the FFA stand out from other school programs is that 47% of the members are women and 50% of the leadership roles are filled by women. 53% of the members that make up the program are Hispanic. 48% are Caucasian and 3% are African American. 

One of Livermore High School’s FFA advisors is Joe McNealy. McNealy is an LHS alumni and was involved in FFA all four years of his High School experience.McNealy stated that FFA stands out from other programs because “Students get to participate in activities throughout the state and SAE projects.” 

An SAE project is where a student will raise animals and take it to the county or state fair to sell. Students can also grow a plant as an SAE and track growth and development. Students make money off of SAEs when selling the animal, which is another reason why FFA is so different from other school programs. SAE projects teach students entrepreneurship, work experience, and knowledge of how AG business work. 

The FFA program provides many fundraisers and events, such as the Texas Roadhouse fundraiser, pie sales, almond and poinsettia sale, and the FFA barbeque. These fundraisers help the program pay for field trips and events such as chapter meetings, AG Day, and banquets. 

McNealy stated that the goal of FFA is to provide students with, “leadership, career success, SAE projects, and the many different courses.” The Ag classes that LHS provides are Ag science, Ag Biology, Ag government, Ag civics, Ag chem, Floral, Construction and Technology, (OH) Horticulture, advanced ag class (AIS), and Ag leadership.

A message McNealy wanted to share with students considering taking the Ag courses was, “Our classes in the Ag department have lots of opportunities for students to be involved and learn about agriculture. Ag classes are for everyone.”