These jackets represent some of the nearly 1,000 FFA jackets that will go to members during convention this year. Many of these were embroidered at Universal Lettering in Ohio and then shipped to convention for pick up.
INDIANAPOLIS – The famed FFA jacket has been worn proudly by countless FFA members since it was adopted in 1933, and this year at the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo, nearly 1,000 more members will get blue jackets fresh off the embroidery machine thanks to some hard work from Universal Lettering Co. in Van Wert, Ohio, the official supplier of the FFA jacket since 1991.
“They’ve made about 800 or 900 jackets this week, many of these were made in Ohio and shipped overnight, and there’s more coming in tomorrow morning,” said a group of Courtesy Corps members from Brookfield FFA in Missouri, volunteering at Universal Lettering’s booth in the National FFA Shopping Mall.
Many of the jackets made this week now belong to FFA members who have been elected to new officer positions or those who have grown. Some are special and have earned the distinction of being a member’s first official FFA jacket.
Mark Hopkins receives his own FFA jacket at convention.
Mark Hopkins of Rochelle FFA in Illinois zipped up his first official jacket on Friday morning at convention. He previously wore his dad’s FFA jacket from the 1980s.
“It feels good to have a new one. FFA is something that has been in our family for three generations now and I’m the fourth,” Hopkins said.
Others previously wore jackets belonging to their chapters, often with others’ names embroidered on the front or no name at all.
“It’s definitely special. It’s my first jacket that’s not my chapter’s and now I feel that I am a part of it,” exclaimed Kalley Tiejte of Forest Lake FFA in Minnesota, as she zipped up her new jacket, cheered on by her chapter.
With FFA membership at 653,359 strong and growing, there will certainly be no shortage of FFA members wanting their own blue corduroy, and the impact of the blue corduroy will continue to last throughout convention and beyond.
Abby Marion is a senior at the University of Florida studying agricultural education and communications. An alumnus of the Florida FFA Association, Marion is serving as a reporter for the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo Newsroom Crew.