First African American Woman to Lead National Future Farmers’ Organization

Breanna Holbert, an agricultural education major at California State University, has been elected president of the National FFA Organization for the year 2017–2018. Holbert is the first African American woman to lead the organization.


Holbert was elected with five other students—the majority are women—to serve in leadership roles for the year. The other states represented are Oklahoma, Georgia, Arizona, Iowa, and Kentucky. The Oklahoma Farm Report declared that the National FFA Organization made history with the election of Holbert. Other outlets did not mention Holbert’s race at all.

The National FFA Organization


The National FFA Organization was formerly known as the Future Farmers of America. It changed its name in 1988 to better reflect the diversity of opportunity in agriculture. Its site says:

“FFA is not just for students who want to be production farmers; FFA also welcomes members who aspire to careers as teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners, and more…. FFA continues to help … its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of agricultural career pathways. So today, we are still the Future Farmers of America. But, we are the Future Biologists, Future Chemists, Future Veterinarians, Future Engineers, and Future Entrepreneurs of America, too.”

National Officers


Holbert and the whole team of six elected national officers have committed to serving the organization for a year. It sounds as if they’ll have a pretty rigorous schedule on top of school. According to AgDaily:

“Delegates elect a president, secretary, and vice presidents representing the central, southern, eastern, and western regions of the country.


“National officers commit to a year of service to the National FFA Organization. Each officer travels more than 100,000 national and international miles to interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government and education officials, state FFA leaders, the general public, and more. The team will lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and help set policies that will guide the future of FFA and promote agricultural literacy.”

The other elected national officers and their college majors are Erica Baier, an agricultural education major, elected national secretary; Piper Merritt, an agricultural economics major, elected central region vice president; Bryce Cluff, an agricultural technology and management: education major, who will serve as western region vice president; Ian Bennett, majoring in agriscience and environmental systems—plant breeding and genetics, elected southern region vice president; and Gracie Furnish, a career and technical education major, will serve as eastern region vice president.