FFA Foundation connects with Wyoming agWritten by Saige Albert
Two new, notable programs the Foundation has launched to raise funds for FFA members and events include Bulls for Blue and Gold and Bales for Blue and Gold.
Bulls for Blue and Gold
“The idea for Bulls for Blue and Gold came about from a suggestion based on a similar program in other states,” says Wyoming FFA Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Womack. “It built from there. We started calling on seedstock producers to donate 10 percent of Lot 10 at their sale to the Wyoming FFA Foundation to support FFA programs in the state.”
“This is the second year we have done the program,” Womack explains. “It’s grown both years, and we have new ranches signing on all the time.”
The agriculture industry avidly supports the Wyoming FFA Foundation, and Womack notes that the handful of ranches that currently support the program keeps growing.
“We want the relationship between FFA and Wyoming agriculture to be as strong as possible, and this program was created with that goal in mind,” adds Womack. “We have a lot of ranchers who support the Wyoming FFA Foundation outside of the Bulls for Blue and Gold Program, as well.”
A new endeavor
“Bales for Blue and Gold is a new program, and we’re just getting it off the ground,” says Womack, adding they have just started its publicity. “It’s our effort to call upon the state’s hay producers to connect with the FFA program and support ag education.
Donn Randall, crop and forage manager for the Wyoming Business Council and Wyoming FFA Foundation Board of Directors member, says he thought the program might be a good idea after watching copious amounts of hay pass through the state last year.
“On one Friday afternoon, I counted 30 semi loads of hay on the interstate between Cheyenne and Casper,” says Randall. “I started calculating, at 22 tons of hay at $250 per ton, or about $5,000 per load, only one or two percent of that would be $100. Surely some of our Wyoming hay producers might be willing to contribute that to the Wyoming FFA Foundation for our FFA kids in the state.”
While Randall and Womack are still working out the fine details in the program, they have begun talking to producers and getting feedback on the program’s concept.
“Our hay markets are so good right now,” says Randall. “We’re just trying to find different ways where different types of people can participate in sponsoring and assisting our Wyoming FFA members and ag programs.”
“We’re just getting our wheels under us,” Womack comments of the Wyoming FFA Foundation’s new programs. “It’s growing every year.”
The Wyoming FFA Foundation has pursued a number of fundraisers and events for members throughout the year, including their annual Texas Roadhouse fundraiser and welcome barbeque at the state convention each year.
“Texas Roadhouse is an amazing company,” says Womack. “They open their restaurant and let us serve barbeque pork meals at a profit to FFA. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity.”
The FFA Foundation also serves a barbeque on the opening night of the State FFA Convention.
“We served 650 FFA members, advisors and guests this year,” Womack comments of 2012, recognizing the Cheyenne Kiwanis Club ag committee for their help sponsoring and serving the dinner, as well as sponsorship from FUSA Insurance Agency, Rocky Mountain Power, Cheyenne Frontier Days, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, the Casper FFA Alumni and Bill and Judy Johnson.
Inside the Wyoming FFA Foundation
The Wyoming FFA Foundation was established in 1958 to serve as the support arm for Wyoming FFA programs, and during the week of Wyoming FFA’s State Convention they are continuing their support of ag education with some new, exciting programs.
The Foundation offers scholarships, financial assistance, recognition and encouragement to Wyoming FFA members through a variety of programs. Having received 45 applications, the FFA Foundation presented scholarships to FFA members at the 2012 Wyoming FFA Convention. The Foundation also works with sponsors to make grant dollars available for chapter’s community service and educational endeavors. Through its voucher fund, the Foundation has a goal of ensuring every FFA member in Wyoming has access to a jacket embroidered with his or her own name.
The Foundation website says, “We accomplish our work with the support of generous donors, many of whom are themselves beneficiaries of the FFA program.”
A long list of Wyoming FFA supporters can be found on the Foundation’s website.
Twelve Foundation members serve on the Board of Directors and represent a variety of interests throughout the state. The Board of Directors includes Court Schilt of Cheyenne, Stacy Broda of Cheyenne, Val Andreen of Casper, Lesley Pearson of Buffalo, Becki Dale of Gillette, Greg Schamber of Pinedale, John Schmidt of Riverton, Gil McEndree of Worland, Donn Randall of Pine Bluffs, Chuck Markworth of Evansville and Brendan Thoman of Riverton.
“This is an amazing group of volunteer board members who fully see the benefits FFA offers Wyoming young people,” says Womack. “They give generously of their time to both the Foundation and other aspects of the FFA program. On any given day you can find one of our board members doing something to help young people in Wyoming. They’re a devoted and energetic bunch who are truly making things happen for Wyoming FFA. The bonus is that we all enjoy doing what we can to expand the opportunities available to Wyoming FFA members.”