The celebration in honor of National Future Farmers of America week began early for the members of the Smithton chapter as earlier this month they received a $2,500 donation from America’s Farmers Grow sponsored by the Monsanto fund and directed to the Smithton FFA by Selken Farms, LLC.
“This is the first time that we have received a grant like this and we are extremely appreciative and thankful that the Selken family chose us as the recipient of the donation,” Smithton FFA advisor Matt Bax said. “We are planning to use the funds for a community betterment project but we haven’t made any specific plans yet as to what we will do with the money.
Bax said the he and the officers as well as all the members of the chapter would meet soon to discuss possibilities for the donation.
According to a press release provided by the Monsanto Fund, “for the last six years, America’s Farmers Grow Communities has collaborated with farmers to donate over $22 million to more than 8,000 community organizations across rural America.
“Winning farmers will direct donations to nonprofits to help fight rural hunger, purchases life-saving fire and EMS equipment, support ag youth leadership programs, and buy much needed classroom resources among other projects.”
Mick Selken said the decision for he and his brother Phillip Selken to donate the money to the Smithton FFA students on behalf of their family farm was a simple one.
“My brother and I have been involved in farming and agriculture all of our lives,” Mick Selken said. “I’ve been reading in the paper a lot about all of the good things the Smithton students have been doing and so we decided to direct the money to them and keep it local.
“Both Phillip and I graduated from Smithton but when we were in school they didn’t have an FFA Chapter,” Mick Selken said. “In either my junior or senior year they offered an ag class that I took but farming has always been in our family.”
Selken Farms LLC, located just outside the Smithton city limit, has been owned and operated by the family since 1885.
Selken added that he heard about the program after receiving a phone message in December that he had been nominated for the award.
“I’m pretty sure my seed corn dealer, Jared Williams, nominated us for the award,” Selken said. “He is a Monsanto dealer and it would be something he would think to do.”
This is the third time that Smithton students have been honored by the Monsanto Fund.
In 2011, the organization received a $1,500 grant from the Monsanto Chapter Challenge.
The following year, they received an additional grant of $1,000 from Monsanto.
“With the two previous grants we used the money for curriculum materials for the ag program here at the school,” Bax said. “Some of the funds were also used to help offset the cost for the students to attend the State and National FFA Conventions.
“We are very excited about this award because it gives us the opportunity to do something to help the community which is nice because they have been incredibly supportive of our students and the FFA program here at Smithton.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484