Mr. Speaker, this week my home state of Texas joined the rest of the country in celebration of Future Farmers of America’s annual National FFA Week: recognizing the importance of and advocating for agricultural education and FFA.

The tradition was started back in 1947 when the National FFA Board of Directors designated the week of George Washington’s birthday as National FFA Week in recognition of his legacy as an agriculturalist and farmer. Today, thousands of chapters around the country and hundreds of thousands of members celebrate National FFA Week and advocate for increased agricultural education and FFA membership.

The Future Farmers of America organization is a staple of our countries agricultural education; it cultivates young men and women into competent leaders who possess an intimate knowledge of agriculture. The organization is rich in history with its foundation dating back to 1928 when 33 students from 18 states congregated in Kansas City, Missouri and constructed the organization.

Today, the organization is 629,367 members strong with 7,757 chapters, at least one in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Although FFA membership nationwide is something to celebrate, I want to highlight the state with the largest FFA membership in the country: my home state of Texas.

Currently, Texas leads the country in FFA membership with 1021 chapters and 103,379 members. Texas FFA serves as a shining example to the rest of the country as to what membership and participation in FFA should be. Texans understand the great importance of agricultural education and cultivating the next generation into competent leaders; no organization does that better than FFA and no state does FFA better than Texas.

And that’s just the way it is.