Iowa FFA chapters awarded $1,500 ‘Planting A Seed' Grants

Posted: January 11, 2013
Iowa FFA chapters awarded $1,500 ‘Planting A Seed' Grants

Eight Iowa FFA chapters have been awarded $1,500 "Planting A Seed" grants by the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) to conduct activities that increase agricultural awareness in their communities and interest among youth in food production and life sciences.

The program is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer in cooperation with the Iowa FFA Foundation.

Grant recipients are: Boone A& M FFA; Charles City FFA; Clay-Central/Everly FFA, Everly; LaPorte Dysart FFA, LaPorte City; Nevada FFA; Starmont FFA, Arlington; Tri-Star FFA, Guttenberg; and West Liberty FFA.

The chapters will use grant funding to conduct programs this spring to promote interest in ag-related careers and the roles that science and technology play in providing wholesome food using less land and fewer inputs. They'll be recognized in April at the Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference in Ames. The chapter determined to have conducted the most innovative and successful activity will be presented a $2,000 Award of Excellence to be used for general chapter activities.

"A growing population presents challenges and tremendous opportunities for Iowa's agricultural  community," said Todd Frazier, DuPont Pioneer business director. "By nurturing the next generation of farmers, agronomists, researchers and scientists, we can leverage Iowa's rich agricultural legacy to meet the challenge."

Aaron Putze, director of communications for the Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa FFP coordinator, says grant program judges were impressed with the number and quality of applications.

"The selection process was robust given that 54 chapters submitted applications," he said. "The tremendous response to this program is an indication of the growing interest there is in FFA, food production and ag-related careers. We look forward to working with grant recipients to implement their successful programs."

Activities to be conducted by grant recipients are:

Boone A&M FFA: Distribute "Planting a Seed" kits to grade-school students to take home and grow a vegetable plant. The goal is to encourage students to transplant their plants to a home garden to experience agriculture and produce healthy food at home.

Charles City FFA: Create a portable kiosk that includes information on agricultural careers in Charles City, Floyd County and throughout Iowa.  The kiosk will include a video focusing on former Charles City FFA members who have gone on to successful agricultural careers.

Clay Central/Everly FFA: Teach children how to grow their own food through a multi-phase approach beginning with the MavPack program. FFA members will include a variety of Iowa-produced foods in MavPacks distributed to students for use on weekends and school vacations. The chapter also wants to establish a garden and to develop students' horticulture skills and teach healthy eating habits.

LaPorte-Dysart FFA: Create a community orchard that will also serve as an outdoor horticulture laboratory for the Union Community School and the local Master Gardner program. Elementary and high school students will apply classroom knowledge to maintaining the space including planting, weeding and harvesting crops from the orchard. Fruit produced at the orchard will be marketed to the school's food service and sold locally.

Nevada FFA: Highlight local renewable fuels industry-leading businesses with an Iowa High School Renewable Energy Conference. The conference will be open to Iowa high school students and emphasize the growing role of agricultural processing in today's economy and explain how it adds value to grains and provides jobs.

Starmont FFA: Teach students in first through sixth grades and their families about how food is raised and the important role played by Iowa farmers. FFA members will meet with the elementary students once or twice a month, offering lessons about the production of beef, pork, poultry, lamb, corn and soybeans.

Tri-Star FFA: Take a current school garden project and grow it into a food-producing farming experience.  With an expanded garden, Tri-Star FFA will encourage elementary students to exercise and eat healthy food while developing an appreciation for agriculture and a hands-on understanding of the life sciences.

West Liberty FFA: The chapter grows jalapeño peppers and Roma tomatoes that are sold to a local restaurant for use in its homemade salsa. The chapter will increase productivity by building earthen boxes to grow fresh produce in the winter inside their greenhouse. FFA members will prepare educational materials for presentations and marketing the products to El Patio Restaurant, create informational tents in English and Spanish that will be placed on tables at the restaurant promoting agricultural facts and careers.

The Iowa Food & Family Project ( unites Iowans in conversations about good food and the farmers who grow it through personal engagement and advocacy. It involves more than 30 partners including the Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Machine Shed Restaurant, Iowa Pork Producers Association and Farm Credit Services of America. The Iowa FFP proudly serves as Presenting Sponsor of the Iowa Games and supporter of Live Healthy Iowa. It is funded in part by the soybean checkoff.

The Iowa FFA Foundation ( builds partnerships with individuals and businesses to provide support for agricultural education. It serves as an advocate to stimulate, promote and strengthen the young people of Iowa, who will ultimately lead the next generation of agriculture, by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.


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