Hams fetch thousands at State Fair FFA Ham Breakfast

Equipment and tractor dealer H&R Agri-Power poses with their prize Grand Champion Country Ham, purchased for $14,000 during an auction benefiting the FFA program at the Tennessee State Fair.

LEBANON – The Seventh Annual Future Farmers of America (FFA) Ham Breakfast at the Wilson County-Tennessee State Fair broke attendance and fundraising records Monday. With 1,100 FFA members and business people present, the breakfast raised $173,000 for the FFA youth organization. 

The event was studded with special guests from Fortune 500 companies, Tennessee’s top agriculture groups, as well as the Governor, both United States Senators, members of the United States House, Commissioners of Agriculture and Education, and a smattering of Tennessee legislators. Known best for the ham auction, the breakfast has become a staple of the State Fair. 

Congressman John Rose addresses the record crowd at the 7th Annual Tennessee State Fair FFA Ham Breakfast. Rose made the $10,000 winning bid for the Grand Champion Packer House Ham to benefit the FFA program.

This year’s ham auction yielded $14,000 for the Country (long) Ham, which was purchased by tractor and equipment dealer H&R Agri-Power. The Packer Style (short) Ham was purchased for $10,000 by Congressman John Rose (TN-06) whose congressional district includes the Wilson County Fairgrounds. Rose is a former Tennessee State Fair Association Chairman, FFA alum and member of the prestigious Tennessee FFA Sponsoring Committee. 

A highlight of the program was recognition of Gov. Bill Lee’s work to grow and improve agricultural education in middle and high schools across Tennessee. Since the Governor took office in 2019, FFA membership has doubled. Most recently, new staff positions have been added in the State Department of Agriculture to support the FFA program. 

“We’ve made strong investments in agricultural education, CTE and across rural communities to prepare the next generation of Tennessee leaders for success,” said Lee. “Agriculture plays an important role in our economy and in the lives of Tennesseans, and we remain committed to ensuring this industry thrives.” 

FFA members representing more than 35 high school chapters attended the event. The students went on to compete in a variety of competitions and events at the fair later in the day. In fact, more than 100 teams competed in the Livestock Judging competition and nearly 40 teams competed in the Floral Design competition, among other events happening during the week. 

The ham breakfast is organized by the Tennessee FFA Foundation, a Cookeville-based nonprofit that supports the statewide FFA program. FFA membership is at an all-time high in Tennessee and nationally. The program touts a mission to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. To learn more about FFA visit www.tnffa.org or www.ffa.org.

Gov. Bill Lee makes remarks before an audience of more than 1,100 people attending the 7th Annual Tennessee State Fair FFA Ham Breakfast.

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