The Union FFA recently completed a community service project by mowing and trimming the Terry/Van Leer Family Cemetery, located west of Union.

The cemetery is one of the oldest in the area with markers dating back into the 1800s. The majority of the plots are marked by small stones giving no indication of who was buried there or when. The students enjoy cleaning this small cemetery because it helps them relate to the past and the people who lived in Franklin County over 100 years ago.

This project is one of the many Building Our American Communities (BOAC) projects that the Union FFA takes pride in performing. The BOAC program, sponsored by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, involves FFA members in community development.

Over the years the Union FFA Chapter has earned 28 grants and three government citations recognizing their outstanding achievements with the BOAC program. In the past the Union FFA Chapter has received a BOAC grant to improve the Union area in a variety of ways. Beautification of the courthouse square, a wash rack and portable bleachers for the Franklin County Youth Fair, a pavilion at the Franklin County FFA Foundation Farm and the Johnson Grass Eradication project are just of few of the former activities. Each year the FFA members look forward to contributing to the growth of Union through BOAC projects.

The Union FFA Chapter has a rich tradition in participating in community events. These activities help develop an award-winning chapter and prepare members as leaders.

The chapter is constantly striving to reach goals and motivate members to explore their role in agriculture. FFA is an integral part of agricultural education completing a three-part model of classroom instruction and hands-on experience. Activities can range from community service to raising animals.

Union is one of 7,242 FFA chapters in the nation with approximately 300 members. FFA is found in urban, suburban and rural schools in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The 495,046 national FFA members can be found in every kind of community from downtown Chicago and New York City to small towns like Beaufort. Any student in grades seven to 12 who is enrolled in an agriculture education course may join the FFA.

Nationally more than 70 percent of FFA members are from nonfarm rural, suburban and urban areas, with the remaining 30 percent coming from farming communities. In the Union FFA Chapter, approximately 90 percent of the members are from a nonfarm background.

The Union FFA Chapter is exhibiting the FFA motto of “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve” in their daily lives. Service is an important part of the FFA. Through serving others, FFA members learn the importance of hard work, the rewards of a job well done and the satisfaction of helping others. Through agricultural education and FFA, Union FFA members are truly living to serve.

Submitted by Union FFA Reporter Libby Eckelkamp