FEMALE FARMERS: Girls outnumber boys in Lufkin High School FFA for first time

Ebony Tatmon, Panther Growls staff member

Lufkin High School FFA members Asia Smith, Lexi Ferguson, Kennedy Marshall, Lexi Foley and Noemi Avila smile for a photo. (Photo by LA’NETRICE ADEKIYA-HUFF/Lufkin High School Fang Yearbook)

Future Farmers of America has become one of the largest student-run organizations in the nation since starting in 1928. At the time, it was an organization for men, because women weren’t expected to do “dirty work.” In fact, females weren’t even allowed to join FFA until 1969.

“The stereotypical FFA member would be a redneck male, but the face of agriculture has changed now to where women play just as big a part as males,” Lufkin High School Agriculture teacher Kellye Marshall said.

Now, for the first time at LHS, females outnumber males in FFA with 52 females and 48 males.

“It gives courage to women who probably don’t think they could,” said Asia Smith, who participates in FFA contests.

“I think it’s important, because it shows that women can do the same things men can,” said FFA member Kennedy Marshall, who does job interviewing and quiz team, “It shows we’re all equal.”

Many of the girls in FFA are involved in activities outside FFA.

“It can get really hard to manage cheer and rodeo sometimes,” Lexi Foley said.

“The hardest thing is being able to manage school and keep my grades up so I can participate in FFA activities,” Kennedy Marshall said.

The school’s female FFA members all had their own reasons for getting involved with the organization.

“My dad was in FFA when he was in high school, so I wanted to try it,” said Lexi Ferguson, who shows pigs and lambs, and does quiz team in FFA.

“I got involved because I want to start my own farm and I thought FFA would teach me what I needed to know,” Noemi Avila said.

“I thought it was something new that I could try,” Smith said.

“It’s a family tradition,” Kennedy Marshall said. “My mom was in it, my sister was in it, so now I’m in it.”