A Missouri FFA chapter has won the grand prize worth more than $8,000 in a seven-state competition that encouraged FFA chapters to connect with farmers in their local communities.
West Plains High School's FFA chapter won the 2011 FFA Chapter Challenge, a pilot competition sponsored by Monsanto. The chapter will be able to send six students and an adult advisor on an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2011 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. The chapter will also receive $1,500 in credit with the National FFA Organization to help pay for FFA-related activities and expenses throughout the year.
West Plains earned 469 votes. Lawrence County High School's FFA chapter in Moulton, Ala., and John Glenn High School's FFA chapter in Walkerton, Ind., were the closest competitors, finishing with 416 and 407 votes, respectively.
The top 10 FFA chapters in each state that earned the most votes also received a $1,500 line of credit with FFA. Monsanto is also awarding each of the seven state FFA organizations a $1,500 grant for participating in the competition.
Since March 7, FFA chapters in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia and Alabama sent members into their communities to meet local farmers, learn about their operations and connect with them by sharing what their FFA chapter is doing in their community. Farmers were then asked to visit FFAChapterChallenge.com and vote for their favorite FFA chapter.
"The inaugural FFA Chapter Challenge has been an overwhelming success," said National FFA Foundation executive director Rob Cooper. "Thousands of FFA members made positive connections with local farmers. The intent of the challenge was to encourage FFA members meet their area farmers, learn about their business and connect with them – and in many cases reconnect with them because students found out that many of their local farmers are former FFA members. We are thrilled with the level of participation among students and farmers and look forward to staging a larger campaign with Monsanto next year, inviting even more FFA chapters to compete."
Participation in the 2011 FFA Chapter Challenge was high. More than 360 FFA chapters and a combined 22,000 members earned more than 10,385 votes from farmers across the seven-state area. Website traffic was high throughout the competition as more than 10,740 unique users visited the site through May 1.
"Monsanto is committed to youth in agriculture because we know our industry will only be as strong as the next generation of agriculture leaders," said John Raines, vice president of customer advocacy at Monsanto. "The FFA Chapter Challenge allowed us to increase our valuable partnership with the National FFA organization while helping the local chapters connect with farmers in their communities."
The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that fund FFA activities, recognize member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agriculture education. Nearly 82% of all funds received by the foundation support FFA and agricultural education opportunities.
Source: National FFA Organization