America's Farmers Grow Communities

Reported by: Rebecca Rivers
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Updated: 3/25/2013 6:55 am

Monsanto plays a big part in providing seed and farm supplies to ag producers across the country. And Monsanto is proud to work alongside those farmers as they work to provide food, clothing and energy for our growing world. But to help ensure agriculture stays strong for generations to come, Monsanto is giving back to their communities through their America's Farmers campaign.

"This is a program that you can make application every year to Monsanto, and every year they choose one farmer, one winner per county. And if you are the winner, which I was, then you get to direct the money, Monsanto's money, toward your favorite non-profit organization. This year I chose Roosevelt FFA," Jeff Johnson said. 

Jeff Johnson is a life long Lubbock County farmer, and said that he buys a lot from Monsanto every growing season. But it's Monsanto's dedication to giving back that he said is the real prize.

"I  buy quite a bit of their seed every year, quite a bit of the chemicals, and then I've dealt with them on programs over the years through the Soil and Water Conservation District," Jeff said. "They've always had a lot of support for all of the area programs."

Jeff said that he's fed his fair share of pigs over the years when his boys were growing up and involved in FFA. And now his son Coby Johnson is the ag teacher at Roosevelt High School. So his non-profit organization of choice was an easy decision.

"FFA programs never have enough money, so this should be well used by them," Jeff said. "Unfortunately we're in a drought, but fortunately because of that designation, I was allowed an additional prize and I chose for both of them to go to Roosevelt FFA."

Coby Johnson said that with the growing population of their ag program, the FFA's financial needs also grow.

"In order to be successful, it costs money to buy supplies, to take kids down the road to contests, and those types of things. That's where we fall short often is in those areas," Coby said. "Here at Roosevelt FFA we have approximately 120 kids in our ag department. We're involved in leadership development events, career development events, a few speaking contests as well as stock shows."

But the education bill a few years ago significantly cut their state funding. FFA chapter president Alyssa Ingley said that Monsanto's money that Mr. Johnson donated will help them make big contributions to their program.

"We're talking about getting a vet program next year where after you take it for the year, you'll be a certified vet tech when you get out, so that helps before you go to college and getting you started," Ingley said. "We're looking at getting some new welders, new tools for the shop. The money helps with trips and contests and things that we need to get done."

Ingley said that she's seen how FFA prepares students for life after high school. And the whole Roosevelt FFA chapter is grateful to both Mr. Johnson and Monsanto.

"It teaches you how to take care of stuff by yourself and not having to get everybody to do stuff for you. It was a big surprise, and a big thank you goes out to Mr. Johnson," Ingley said. 

America's Farmers Grow Communities is just one leg of Monsanto's generosity. They also sponsor America's Farmers Grow Education, which supports rural school districts. The Monsanto fund will invest over $5 million to local nonprofit organizations across the country this year alone.

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