When the "World Was Flat" and agriculture was a "Vocation of Necessity", Vocational Agriculture was conceived... Well, not exactly in that order, however, agriculture was the first industry and the backbone of this nation. It was envisioned that all young men should be equipped with the evolving knowledge of Plant and Animal Science for this country to survive as a nation. Our U.S. Congress also shared this vision and in 1917, passed the Smith-Hughes Act. The state of Florida bought into this vision and initiated instruction in Vocational Agriculture at the high school level.

A companion organization to the high school agriculture instruction was considered critical to develop the agricultural leaders for this expanding industry. Thus, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) was organized to develop this leadership among the agriculture students. The National FFA Organization was founded in 1928, and the first FFA chapters in Florida were chartered in 1929. Serving as advisor to each FFA chapter was none other than the agriculture teacher. Each FFA chapter officer was assigned a symbol, emblematic of the office they held. Because the owl was considered the time honored symbol of knowledge and wisdom, it was only appropriate that the owl was selected for the advisor (Ag. Teacher). In the years that followed, the chain of men and women who became part of this inspiring task number in the hundreds. The young boys and girls who have participated and developed the skills and knowledge of today's Agribusiness Industry, number in the thousands.

The "Seasoned Owls & Friends" is an outgrowth of the relationships that developed among those associated with Florida's Agricultural Education and Florida's FFA. The early Seasoned Owls consisted of a small group of such individuals. They decided to have a "Little Gathering" to visit and recall our so-called, "Good Ole Days". Perhaps it was fate that pointed us to an old site, rich in Florida's early FFA history: Camp O'leno State Park. That was in the year 2000, and today this reunion, "Grand Reunion", has captured the hearts of all who attend.

At each "Grand Reunion" gathering, while visiting among ourselves, it became apparent that much of the history of our profession still resides in the hearts and minds of this group. The truth be told, it exists nowhere else. Photos, names, dates and places are being lost and eroded with each passing year. The opportunity to capture this rich heritage was slipping away. As a result, a number of our members have found this to be a rewarding challenge. They have begun gathering and compiling documentation of our almost forgotten history. Many of these items, including hundreds of photos are now on display each year at the Grand Reunion.

As for the Seasoned Owls & Friends, their leadership comes from all volunteer committee. They serve because they simply believe it's the right thing to do. There are no annual dues, no election of officers, no fund raising events, no political endorsements, no selling of anything. We simply pass the hat each year at the Grand Reunion and operate on donations. Those attending each year find that their main responsibility is getting yourself there. We all look forward each year to seeing and visiting with one another. If you have never attended, a most pleasant experience awaits you. We will be looking for you this year.