More than $166,000 in grants and scholarships have been given to local FFA Chapters and the 2017 National FFA Collegiate Scholarship Program, thanks to AGCO Corporation. Providing grants to local FFA Chapters is the newest aspect of more than 70 years of support from AGCO and its brands and an effort AGCO leadership, dealers, and the local chapters are especially excited about.
“Several of the Massey Ferguson, Challenger and Gleaner dealers throughout the AGCO network asked us for a way to support the activities and needs of FFA chapters in their local communities. In response, we expanded our scholarship program to provide AGCO dealer grants,” Alistair McLelland, vice president of marketing, North America explains. “The first grants were presented three years ago, and we’ve seen those investments put to work in some very thoughtful and beneficial ways.” A few examples include:
- Saranac FFA in Saranac, Mich., was in desperate need of technology in their classroom, so they used the funds to purchase Chromebook laptops for students to use when completing lab assignments.
- At the Kern County FFA in Lake Isabella, Calif., the funds had a significant impact through the chapter’s annual Food for America program where students educate kindergarteners about the importance of agriculture. More than 700 kindergarteners were engaged through hands-on education and chapter members honed their presentation and “Agvocacy” skills. The grant also helped provide education materials and products that were given to each of the elementary groups.
- Jordan-Matthews FFA in Siler City, N.C., is putting up a new fence around raised garden beds at the school as they expand the hands-on learning aspects for their Horticulture curriculum.
- Jackson County Central FFA, in Jackson, Minn., used their grant to send members to the Minnesota State FFA Convention.
- The Briggsdale FFA Chapter in Briggsdale, Colo., applied its grant to cover the costs of registration for conferences and contests, providing opportunities that help students better understand the agricultural industry. Students benefit from meeting industry professionals, as well as through exploring college campuses that offer a wide range of agricultural degree options. The grants help offset an expense that some families can’t afford.
For the 2016-2017 scholarship year, AGCO and more than 40 of the company’s dealers provided 118 scholarships to deserving FFA members and 30 grants to local chapters in the dealers’ communities. Fourteen state associations of those selected chapters also received $200 grants.
AGCO’s support for the National FFA Collegiate Scholarship Program began in 2011 and involves financial contributions from the local dealer and AGCO with the chapter grants added in 2014. The financial support is just one way the company and its employees express their appreciation and support for FFA and today’s youth. AGCO also is involved at the National FFA Convention & Expo each year and enlists the Gilbert, Iowa, High School FFA Chapter to help grow crops for the company’s Farm Progress exhibit near Boone, Iowa. These activities extend a 72-year partnership between the National FFA Organization and the company’s brands, one of the longest standing partnerships of FFA.
AGCO and AGCO Finance-sponsored scholarships make up just a few of the 1,883 scholarships awarded by the National FFA Organization to 2017 high school graduates and select college students. This year, students shared a total of more than $2.7 million contributed by sponsoring companies, which was a record amount for the National FFA Organization. Recipients were chosen from 8,337 students who applied for the scholarships. Awards were based on academic records, FFA achievements, leadership, and other school and community activities. Supervised agricultural experience programs and future goals also were considered.
“Many AGCO employees benefitted from the premier leadership, personal growth and career success fostered by FFA, so we know first-hand the program’s importance in developing the agricultural industry’s future leaders,” says McLelland. “AGCO congratulates FFA on making a positive difference in the lives of students and helping meet our industry’s challenges. We are proud to be a long-term supporter of FFA.”