For 79 years, members of California Association Future Farmers of America were homeless. In 2009, that changed when a new building was erected on a 6-acre site alongside Highway 99, and the state headquarters opened in Galt.
Today, the FFA Center serves 64,000 members across the state.
It is a leadership development site with state-of-the-art technology for leadership and communication training.
The tidy gray brick building includes laboratory classrooms for curriculum development, administrative offices, meeting rooms and state FFA officer living facilities. Among those who have called it home for a time is past state president Hannah Garrett, a 2011 Galt High School graduate.
It will now serve as a workplace for newly elected secretary and Galt High 2013 graduate Gabrielle Franke, who moved in Monday.
She is deferring enrollment at University of California, Davis to spend the year traveling the country presenting workshops, making keynote addresses and advocating for agriculture education.
Franke was among five officers from across the state elected by her peers during the state convention held in April in Fresno.
The center in Galt is the hub of the day-to-day operations of the FFA student organization, according to Galt Joint Union HIgh School District trustee Amy Madison, who works there. This includes member registration, record book distribution to 304 chapters, registration for its 35 annual conferences and leadership curriculum development, among other activities.
The FFA Center also serves as the central meeting location for secondary and collegiate agricultural education faculty, state agricultural education staff and other agriculture trade associations, Madison said.
Work to make it possible started more than a decade ago.
Former Galt high school district trustee Jim Aschwanden was involved in the acquisition of the property and in planning and constructing the center. Students throughout California worked to raise funds to build Phase 1 of the FFA Center.
In total, more than 600 individuals, companies, organizations and foundations have donated through the “I Believe” campaign launched in 2002.
The center’s master plan has a Phase 2, which would complete the build-out of the property.This includes a large conference building and additional buildings to be incorporated as either office space for agriculture trade associations or additional conference facilities, Madison said.
Build-out of Phase 2 will be a dream come true, she said.
The FFA Foundation is working to secure funding for its current facilities and future growth through individual and corporate giving, as the California FFA Center was built for the past, present and future members of the California FFA, Madison said.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.