I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.
I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.
I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.
I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so–for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.
I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.
The creed was written by E. M. Tiffany, and adopted at the 3rd National Convention of the FFA. It was revised at the 38th Convention and the 63rd Convention. History of the FFA Creed
History of the FFA Creed Reciting the FFA Creed has become—in its own, unique way—a rite of passage. While almost every FFA member (past and present) can still recite at least parts of the creed, most probably don’t know much about its origins.
The FFA Creed was written in the summer of 1928 by Professor Erwin Milton Tiffany, who was the chief teacher in the Department of Agricultural Education at the University of Wisconsin. Tiffany was developing an exhibit for the first FFA convention. He had prepared several charts and tables showing the various programs of instruction in Wisconsin.
Tiffany writes, "Somehow, I got the idea that a statement of ideals for the FFA might fit in with the exhibit. The creed is the result of that idea. It was lettered on sign cloth and included with the rest of the exhibit materials that were shipped to Kansas City."
When his creed was adopted in 1930 at the third FFA convention, Tiffany was pleased. However, he wanted to make sure credit was placed where he felt it was due. In a statement clarifying his thoughts, Tiffany wrote, "I have often said that it is the organization that has made the creed what it is, and it is the work of the members and the leaders that has made the organization what it is. Without these, the Creed itself would be meaningless. With them, it may, and I fervently hope that it does, contribute vitally to the spirit which is essential to achievement."
In 1932, Tiffany was asked to send a message to the national FFA convention delegates. He wrote, "The Future Farmers of America are required to memorize something we call a creed. Ever since thinking, hopeful men have inhabited the earth, they have been gibbering creeds. If any good has come from it, the virtue is not in the creed, nor in the gibbering, but in the nobility of mind, which prompts men to ponder over their ideals.
"If the creed of the Future Farmers of America is an expression of faith worthy of so vigorous an organization, it must be more than a part of a prescribed ceremony; it must be an active force of thought working its way anew through the minds of everyone who makes its words their own. I hope the creed is virile enough to engender such a response."
What inspired E.M. Tiffany?Luckily, Tiffany captured his thoughts regarding the creed, and they are stored in the National FFA Archives.
In an answer to a question regarding his inspiration for the creed, Tiffany wrote, "There is enough inspiration in each word of the organization’s name to call forth the highest hopes, the deepest concern, the profoundest regard, the strongest determination to carry forward the ideals, never realized in full, but without which the farmer would remain forever the man with a hoe."