John Deere Donates $750,000 To Iowa FFA Center

FFA Enrichment Center is a facility that will be built near Des Moines to serve Iowa youth.

The John Deere Des Moines Works at Ankeny and John Deere Credit of Johnston are donating $750,000 to the FFA Enrichment Center, a special project of the Iowa FFA Foundation.

The FFA Enrichment Center is a leadership development facility that will be built on the Ankeny campus of Des Moines Area Community College. The building on the DMACC campus will feature state-of-the-art classrooms, agriculture labs, greenhouses and vet technology. The center's conferencing and meeting facilities include: the John Deere Exhibition Hall, the Monsanto Center for Biotechnology, the Iowa Farm Bureau Biotech Lab, the Pioneer Agriscience Computer Laboratory and the Cargill Communications Center.

"We're pleased to be part of continued support for agriculture, education and community development," says Jim Ballard, human relations manager at Deere Des Moines Works. "The FFA Enrichment Center is an exciting project for the FFA, DMACC and John Deere."

Center to offer learning opportunities
A partnership with DMACC will allow FFA members and ag science teachers to learn from DMACC instructors in areas including agribusiness, veterinary technology, horticulture and viticulture. FFA alumni and members of the business community also can participate in on-site programming as well as through long-distance learning opportunities.

"We're excited about the ongoing partnerships through the FFA Enrichment Center," says Ballard. "John Deere has had the same mission for 170 years. That is to build a business as great as its products. To accomplish this, we must provide genuine value for employees, customers and shareholders alike."

The FFA Enrichment Center, with help from companies like John Deere, will prepare high school students and young adults for career success, says Ed Wiederstein, chairman of the center's capital campaign fundraising committee. The center can also play a role in providing on-going employee education. "Helping Iowans prepare for successful careers in ag science and providing hands-on learning opportunities are key objectives of the FFA Enrichment Center," says Wiederstein. "This leadership gift from Iowa's John Deere companies and their ongoing support of the Iowa FFA program is just one more example of Iowans giving back and leading by example."

New facility to serve FFA statewide
"We couldn't be more pleased than to partner with companies whose brands are synonymous with everything that's good about American agriculture," adds Wiederstein. "It seems appropriate that organizations like FFA and John Deere come together to help create an environment where great minds can continue to redefine and expand the benefits of agriculture to the nation and to the world."

With approximately 67,000 square feet of classrooms, greenhouses and laboratories, The FFA Enrichment Center will provide educational development and leadership programs for more than 12,000 Iowa FFA members and 235 ag education instructors. For more information about the Iowa FFA Enrichment Center and its capital campaign, contact Mary Boote, 309 Court Ave., Suite 214, Des Moines, Iowa 50309, phone 515-274-0800.

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