By Colin Foster
CASSTOWN — Local farmer Jeffrey Knoop had the option of giving to any area nonprofit of his choosing when his name was selected to receive a $2,500 grant from America’s Farmers Grow Community.
He chose to give it to a local organization that was close to his heart — the Miami East FFA Chapter.
“I graduated from East (in 1979) and was in FFA for four years. That kind of was the basis of everything for me,” said Knoop, who had three children grow up in the school district. “I think agriculture needs young people now. You look at the average age now and it’s like 55-60 years old … somebody needs to come in and take it over — and I thought this may be a way to get kids interested.”
Knoop, who is a dairy and grain farmer based in Fletcher, presented the ME FFA with the donation Friday afternoon, capping off the final day of National FFA Week.
Miami East FFA adviser Marie Carity said they will use the money for their “educational and purposeful” trip to Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, Ind., over spring break.
“We were really shocked to receive this,” Carity said. “We were so grateful that he thought of us.”
America’s Farmers Grow Communities works directly with farmers to help support nonprofit organizations such as the Covington, Newton and Miami East FFA chapters, which all contribute to their communities in a variety of ways. The program offers farmers a chance to win $2,500, which they can then donate to a farmer’s nonprofit of their choice. The search for funding to sustain and enhance programs is a year-around job for nonprofit organizations across the United States. Through America’s Farmers Grow Communities, farmers have been able to support a variety of groups such as schools, fire departments, community centers and youth organizations.
America’s Farmers Grow Communities, which was launched in 2010, has donated more than $13 million to more than 5,200 nonprofit organizations. The program is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund and is a part of America’s Farmers initiative, which honors the important contributions of farmers like Knoop. The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Co., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto Co. employees live and work. This year, more than $3.2 million is being directed to nonprofits in 1,289 countries in 39 states.
Colin Foster may be reached at 937-440-5208 or followed on Twitter @colinfosterbg or @Troydailynews