Texas leads in the country in FFA membership

Students at Lago Vista High School are part of the staggering 170,000 members of the Texas Future Farmers of America Organization.

"My mom was in FFA, too," said Brighton Taylor, the reporter for the Lago Vista FFA. "She did the same thing as me. I participate in livestock judging, so me and my little brother both do that."

According to a map by the FFA, Williamson County has almost 20 FFA chapters. Travis County falls just short of that number at a dozen.

In the FFA's division 12, which includes Williamson, Travis, Bastrop, and neighboring counties, more than 15,000 members make up local chapters.

"Sophomore year, I joined FFA, and I raised rabbits and showed them at the Travis County livestock show," said Jayden Lade, the president of the Lago Vista FFA.

According to the Texas FFA division, the state's chapter grew by more than 8 percent this year. That's 13,000 new members.

"About 18 percent of all FFA members reside here in Texas," said Jennifer Jackson, the executive director for the Texas FFA association.

The FFA is an organization for students interested in agricultural education, and its roots run deep.

"I think that FFA is a meaningful, wonderful opportunity for any young student," said Jackson. "Students can become involved in FFA as young as third grade."

Even the FFA can admit that it gets a rep for animals.

"A lot of people think 'man, FFA is kind of like old school,'" said Jackson. 

Students at Lago Vista High are here to show otherwise.

"It was a group project that me and my buddy made," said Cormyn Mosser, a Lago Vista FFA member. "It was a 4x8 foot deer blind that we built from the ground up. All out of wood."

Lago Vista's FFA offers welding, and this week, classes are learning about florists.

"It's not just raising animals," said Taylor. "That's what the thing is like, 'Oh, I have to be a rancher or something,' but it's not that."

Some students in the organization see themselves pursuing agriculture full-time.

"I want to be involved in agriculture," said Mosser. "That's my ideal end place."

Others, like Jayden Lade, see themselves taking a different career path, like nursing.

Either way, students enrolled in Lago Vista's FFA group said there is something here for everyone.

"Obviously, raising an animal comes with a lot of responsibilities," said Lade. "My leadership skills, organizational skills, and all sorts of stuff like that."