Apr 20, 2011  |  Today's News

FFA chapters in seven states on Monday begin efforts to make new and stronger connections with their local farmers and earn their share of more than $225,000 in

incentives provided by Monsanto.

The 2011 FFA Chapter Challenge encourages members of FFA chapters in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Georgia and Alabama to reach out to their community’s farmers, learn about their operations, engage them and bond them with FFA. Confirmation of each  participating chapter’s connection with local farmers must be registered by farmers online at www.FFAChapterChallenge.com or by calling the National FFA  organization at 800-293-2387.

The deadline for farmers to confirm connections is May 1. FFA chapter winners will be announced by May 15.

The top 125 FFA chapters that make the most connections with farmers will receive a $1,500 certificate of credit from the National FFA Organization. Chapters can use the credit throughout the year to buy FFA member jackets, merchandise, awards, banquet supplies and more. Chapters can also use the funds to pay member costs associated with attending the organization’s largest annual events, the Washington Leadership Conference and national FFA convention.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for students to reach out to people in their community who make their living in agriculture and forge strong, meaningful relationships,” said Rob Cooper, executive director of the National FFA Foundation. The foundation secures funding through corporate sponsorships and private contributions for FFA and agriculture education in general. “Monsanto’s support of this initiative will most definitely help build support of local FFA chapters and ultimately help develop tomorrow’s agriculture industry leaders.”

Only FFA chapters in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Georgia and Alabama are eligible to participate. More than 1,700 FFA chapters and their combined 117,824 FFA members can take part in the FFA Chapter Challenge.

The chapter that makes the most connections among the top 125 chapters that participate in the 2011 FFA Chapter Challenge will be awarded a grand prize – an all-expenses-paid trip for six FFA members and one adult advisor to October’s National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. The grand prize has an actual retail value of $6,500.

“We’re committed to youth in agriculture at Monsanto because we know agriculture will only be as strong as its next generation,” said John Raines, vice president of customer advocacy for Monsanto. “We are proud to sponsor the National FFA organization and the FFA Chapter Challenge to help local chapters build new and stronger relationships with farmers.”

For more about the 2011 FFA Chapter Challenge, sponsored by Monsanto as a special project of the National FFA Foundation, visit www.FFAChapterChallenge.com.

Formerly known as Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization provides agricultural education to more than 523,000 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,487 local FFA chapters throughout

the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st U.S. Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. For more, visit http://www.ffa.org.