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July 9, 2004

Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn sends letter of congratulations on the 75th anniversary of the Future Farmers of America (FFA).

Dear FFA leaders,
            For 75 years, FFA has helped young people reach their potential and achieve their dreams.  Beginning with just 33 members, the organization has grown to nearly a half million and is going strong, with active chapters across the nation.
            With an emphasis on developing leadership and communications skills, many FFA alumni have had illustrious careers not only in the field of agriculture, but in other professions as well, leaders such as President Jimmy Carter, singer Willie Nelson, athlete Bo Jackson, and the pride of Illinois farm radio, Orion Samuelson.
            The economy and culture of the state of Illinois has always relied upon agriculture.  Our farming heritage has made the Land of Lincoln a leader in the world economy and the Illinois Association FFA has played a critical role in this success.  A strong voice for agricultural interests, Illinois Association FFA instills commitment to public service and community spirit, and is to be saluted.
            The FFA has adapted to changing times and continues to be on the cutting edge.  There are growing numbers of women who are active in FFA chapters and many of these women are becoming trailblazers in many different fields of agriculture.  When FFA was created 75 years ago, products such as ethanol and biodiesel were unheard of.  And more FFA chapters are being organized in urban and suburban high schools.
            As Chairman of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, I have met with many FFA members and am always impressed with their knowledge, dedication and vision.  The legacy of “Blue Jackets: Gold Standards” continues, as it undoubtedly will for many years to come.
            When this time capsule is opened in 75 or 100 years, there will be a different face to Illinois agriculture.  Let us hope our fields remain fertile and that FFA is still educating and activating Illinois’ young people.
            Congratulations on your 75th Anniversary!
                                                                                                            Pat Quinn
                                                                                                            Illinois Lieutenant Governor


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