An innovative program launched November 21 by the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) with sponsorship from Pioneer Hi-Bred is meant to spur greater awareness and interest in ag and life sciences careers, benefiting Iowa's families, communities, employers and environment.
The FFA "Planting A Seed" Grant Program, coordinated by the Iowa FFA Foundation, will also promote the state's agricultural leadership and the commitment of today's farms to providing healthy and wholesome food for everyone using less land, water and energy.
"Meeting the challenge of doubling agricultural productivity by 2050 is dependent on the next generation of young talent with an interest and understanding of agriculture," says Todd Frazier, Pioneer business director. "Our sponsorship of 'Planting A Seed' will cultivate the next generation of agronomists, researchers and scientists that will help Iowa and America's farmers do more with every kernel of seed and pound of feed."
FFA chapters can apply by December 30 for one of five $1,500 grants
FFA chapters can apply by Dec. 30, 2011 for one of five $1,500 grants to conduct programs that stimulate interest among K-12 students in agricultural careers and emphasize the role science and technology play in providing wholesome food using less land and fewer inputs. Eligible activities include career fairs, tours of local ag production or renewable fuels facilities, class assemblies and creating innovative and engaging displays that promote the fields of opportunity available in agriculture.
Grant recipients will be named Jan. 19, 2012. They will conduct activities from January 30 to March 23 and communicate their efforts using online media and will deliver presentations to local civic and community organizations to enhance program outreach.
"Planting A Seed" grant recipients will be recognized in April at the 2012 Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference in Ames. One chapter determined to have conducted the most innovative and successful activity will be presented a $1,500 Award of Excellence to be used for general chapter activities.
Today's youth will be called upon to develop tomorrow's breakthroughs
Aaron Putze, director of external relations for the Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Food & Family Project coordinator, says that although the world population has doubled in the past 40 years, the amount of land devoted to growing food has remained nearly unchanged.
"This trend is likely to intensify," Putze says. "Therefore, today's youth will be called upon to develop tomorrow's breakthroughs allowing farmers to provide more high-quality food using less land, water and energy. FFA members will be crucial to achieving these improvements while sparking interest among their peers in pursuing agricultural careers."
Iowa is the perfect place to conduct the "Planting A Seed" grant program, says Iowa FFA Foundation executive director Joshua Remington.
"Our state is home to nearly one-fourth of the world's richest farm ground, some of the most dynamic ag companies and active FFA chapters eager to engage the next generation of agriculturalists," he says. "We're pleased to be a partner in this innovative effort and encourage FFA chapters to participate in this tremendous learning opportunity."
The Iowa Food & Family Project (www.iowafoodandfamily.com) inspires greater awareness and trust between farmers and consumers through advocacy and personal engagement to the benefit of human vitality, environmental quality and economic prosperity. It was launched by the Iowa Soybean Association in April of 2011 and involves more than 25 commodity organizations, retailers and food relief organizations.
The Iowa FFA Foundation (www.iowaffafoundation.org) 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.
Summing up: The FFA "Planting A Seed" grant program has as its goal to inspire the next generation of innovators in agriculture.
- It is being carried out by the Iowa Food & Family Project, which is a joint sponsor of the program along with Pioneer Hi-Bret International and the Iowa FFA Foundation.
- Five grants of $1,500 each will be awarded to FFA chapters in Iowa that promote ag and life sciences careers. Activities are to be conducted in spring 2012.
- Recognition will be given at the Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference in April in Ames.