For the third time in three years, the Smyrna High School FFA has received a donation from the America’s Farmers Grow Communities campaign, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The Smyrna FFA chapter received the donation thanks to local farmers Jonathan and Whitney Snow; the Snows won the $2,500 donation and chose the Smyrna FFA as the recipient.
The America’s Farmers campaign is an advocacy program that celebrates U.S. farmers through awards and special programs to highlight the importance of modern agriculture. The program launched nationally in 2011 and has grown to include 1,289 eligible counties in 39 states, according to Brick Veirs, of the Monsanto Company.
Veirs was on hand March 5 along with the Snows to give the donation to the Smyrna FFA chapter.
Veirs said typically FFA and 4H chapters receive the donations but farmers can choose any community group to receive the donation. Veirs said the program recognizes and celebrates the importance of continuing farming in rural America and to help farmers grow.
“It’s a great way to support local communities and to continue the longevity of the farming community. It allows us to give back,” Veirs aid.
Jonathan Snow is the former Smyrna FFA president and went on to be a state officer. He said giving the donation to the FFA allowed him and his wife to give back to the organization that gave him numerous opportunities in school. The Snows grow corn, wheat and soybeans on their farm east of Smyrna.
“It’s a good honor to be chosen and to be able to give back to the FFA,” he said.
Whitney thanked Monsanto for offering the program to help local programs.
The Smyrna FFA chapter was ecstatic to receive the donation.
SHS FFA advisor and teacher Jay Davis said this is the third time the school received the donation. They received two in 2012, one for $2,500 and another for $10,000. Davis said the money has allowed them to update technology used in the building and for activities. He said it’s a great honor to receive the donation.
Fellow FFA advisor Keith Shane said this year’s donation could be used for scholarships. Since a lot of the FFA students applied for scholarships, he said some of the funds could be funneled to that use.
“The idea with Monsanto is that we can use the money for whatever we want to, no strings attached,” Shane said. “The donation speaks a lot to the agricultural community in the district. We have a strong agricultural base in Smyrna and Clayton. It’s nice for our former students to recognize what we’ve accomplished and to give back to us.”
Smyrna FFA President Taylor Dixon said she’s excited the chapter received the donation and that the chapter members were surprised to receive it again. Dixon said the chapter is thankful for the donation.
Smyrna Principal Stacy Cook said anytime the students are recognized for their hard work is a positive thing.
“I think it’s great kids are recognized this way. I think an important point Mr. Shane made is often we don’t get money offered towards education where we can do what we want; we’re told how to spend it,” Cook said. “This gives us the flexibility. We best know what to do for our students.”