CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state’s FFA chapter announced Wednesday it has broken the membership record made last year.

The organization now has 6,469 members and 83 chapters across the state. The membership grew by 1,100 students.

The announcement was made during the West Virginia FFA Convention in Ripley.

“Agricultural Education and FFA provides our students with the type of rich learning experiences that have a profound effect on the paths they take from high school,” state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine said. “The leadership and analytical skills they develop in FFA will be a great asset to them regardless of what they end up doing in life.”

The West Virginia Department of Education pointed to industry demands and evolving careers as reasons for the growth of agricultural education.

“The continued growth of our FFA chapters should make every West Virginian extremely proud,” said Kent Leonhardt, the state agriculture commissioner. “In addition to molding the next generation of farmers, FFA programs teach valuable life skills beneficial to the student no matter the career path. It is clear our children prosper from being a member of a West Virginia FFA chapter.”

The state convention began Wednesday and continues through Saturday.