“He…developed the Oklahoma Vo-Ag Program and its extra-curricular organization, the Future Farmers of America, to national prominence. From some 26 departments, after 1926 it grew to more than 400.”
James Barney “J. B.” Perky was born in Texas and came to Oklahoma City to finish high school before graduating from Wisconsin University (now the University of Wisconsin-Madison) in 1923 and Colorado State College (now Colorado State University) in 1939. When the vocational agriculture program was still in its infancy in Oklahoma, Perky was an instructor at El Reno and Goodwell (1923-1927) and then acted as the Northwest District Supervisor of Vocational Agriculture until 1932 when he was appointed the State Supervisor of Vocational Agriculture and State Advisor for the FFA. In 1941, Perky became State Director of Vocational Education and Executive Officer of the State Board for Vocational Education. He served on regional and national boards and commissions and in January of 1952, served as chairman of a seven-member committee to review the program of the entire Division of Vocational Education in the U.S. Office of Education. Through vo-ag, Perky originated and carried out some of the earliest soil conservation programs in the state and was a member of the first State Soil Conservation Board.
In 1961, J.B. Perky was appointed as a member of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s Panel of Consultants on Vocational Education to review and evaluate the National Vocational Education vote and was honored at “J. B. Perky Day” at the State Fair of Oklahoma in September, 1967.
Perky is a graduate of Central High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.