The award is given to those who advance agriculture education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment.
The National FFA Organization works to enhance the lives of youth through agriculture education. Without the efforts of highly dedicated individuals, thousands of young people would not be able to achieve success that, in turn, contributes directly to the overall well-being of the nation. The Honorary American FFA Degree is an opportunity to recognize those who have gone beyond the valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students, inspiring confidence in a new generation of agriculturists. Recipients in the teacher category are selected on the basis of their contributions in the following seven areas: classroom/laboratory instruction, experiential learning of students, National FFA Organization, building partnerships, agricultural education program marketing, agricultural education program development and evaluation and professional development of agricultural education teachers.
In addition, teachers must have taught for a minimum of 10 years, and their agriculture education program must have 85 percent membership in the past year. Steve Vines taught agriculture education at Winnfield Senior High School for 49 years and almost every one of those years had 100% of his students as members of FFA. Steve was one of only 20 teachers in the country to receive this honor this year.