FFA chapters ‘Planting a Seed’

Six Iowa FFA chapters have been awarded $1,500 “Planting a Seed” grants by the Iowa Food & Family Project to conduct activities that increase agricultural awareness in their communities and interest among youth in food production and life sciences. The first-time program is sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, in cooperation with the Iowa FFA Foundation.

Recipients are Audubon FFA, Audubon; Clay Central/Everly FFA, Everly; Des Moines FFA (Central Campus), Des Moines Public Schools; Gladbrook-Reinbeck FFA, Reinbeck; Iowa Mennonite FFA, Kalona; and New Hampton FFA, New Hampton.

Key Points

Iowa FFA chapters are recognized as “Planting a Seed” grant recipients.

Iowa Food & Family Project, Pioneer and Iowa FFA Foundation are joint sponsors.

Activities will showcase value of ag to Iowa and promote ag-related careers.

The chapters will use the funding to conduct programs this spring that stimulate interest among K-12 students in ag careers and emphasize the role science and technology play in providing wholesome food using less land and fewer inputs. They’ll be recognized April 23 at the Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference in Ames. One chapter determined to have conducted the most innovative and successful activity will be presented a $1,500 Award of Excellence to be used for general chapter activities.

“To meet the needs of a growing population, Iowa’s farmers must continue to increase productivity while using less land, water and energy,” says Todd Frazier, Pioneer business director. “The challenge presents tremendous opportunities for Iowa’s agricultural community and one that will be successfully met by nurturing the next generation of agronomists, researchers and scientists.”

Impressive projects and ideas

Aaron Putze, director of external relations for the Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa FFP coordinator, says grant program judges were impressed with the breadth and quality of activities submitted for consideration. “The selection process was robust,” he says. “We now look forward to working collectively with grant recipients to implement successful programs that increase agricultural awareness and interest in ag-related career opportunities.”     

The Audubon FFA will host a “poverty dinner” involving chapter members and guests and other student organizations. Goal of the event is to increase awareness about food insecurity and the important role farmers will increasingly play in providing greater quantities of wholesome food for more people.

The Gladbrook-Reinbeck FFA will use their grant to involve students in planting, cultivating and harvesting a half-acre garden. Produce from the garden will be sold at the chapter’s “general store” and local farmers markets.

Clay-Central/Everly will sponsor an ag career fair for middle and high school students during National FFA Week, conduct field trips to ag-related businesses and incorporate ag programming in community service activities. Des Moines FFA will sponsor tours to a greenhouse and livestock farm to promote ag-related careers to middle school and elementary students.

Iowa Mennonite FFA will host an ag career fair for high school students involving local businesses. The event, to be held in mid-March in conjunction with the school’s parent-teacher conferences, will also feature a variety of keynote speakers and mock job interviews. New Hampton FFA will recognize February as “New Hampton Community Schools and FFA Local Food Project” month, celebrating the need for agriculture and ag-related careers.

The Iowa Food & Family Project (www.iowafoodand
) inspires greater awareness and trust between farmers and consumers through advocacy and personal engagement to the benefit of human vitality, environmental quality and economic prosperity. It was launched by the Iowa Soybean Association in April 2011 and involves nearly 30 commodity groups, businesses, grocery retailers and food relief organizations.

Source: Iowa FFA Foundation

This article published in the February, 2012 edition of WALLACES FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2012.