African Americans have contributed greatly to the history of American agriculture. One of its most compelling stories is the New Farmers of America (NFA), which was a national organization of Black farm boys studying vocational agriculture in the public schools throughout 18 states in the eastern and southern United States from 1927 to 1965. The organization was started at the suggestion of Dr. H.O. Sargent, federal agent for agricultural education for Blacks, who felt the time was ripe for an organization of Black agricultural students. Operating within the auspices of the Separate but Equal Doctrine, the NFA started at Virginia State University in May 1927 with a few chapters and members and concluded in 1965 with more than 1,000 chapters and more than 58,000 active members, merging with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) as a result of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.