FFA is an organization for the American youth whose goal is to prepare members for leadership and careers in agriculture. Tractor Supply has been a proud partner of FFA since 1985, helping to raise over $12 million through initiatives such as Grants for Growing and aiding in serving our shared communities with fundraisers and through sponsorships.
The Hudson's Bay FFA chapter was awarded a grant to combat food insecurity in their community. With it, students started a small flock of laying hens with an objective to learn basic animal care and an aim to donate the eggs produced to students and their families through the Family & Community Resource Center (FCRC) located at their school. Since many students at Hudson's Bay High School come from households that qualify for free/reduced lunches, students understand food insecurity and, through this project, are learning to help themselves and their larger community.
Hudson's Bay High School is located in an urban area, and because of this, most students have never had the opportunity to raise any kind of livestock. With the grant, students have now completed or are working toward completing SAE projects on topics like poultry production, animal care/maintenance, animal confinement/building systems, food bio security and community health issues due to food poverty.
Students also worked on a marketing plan which included making a logo, purchasing cartons, making flyers and signage, posting on social media platforms and advertising to teachers and staff. Students are practicing inventories, sales, expenses and other small business practices, as well as tracking animal care, ages and productivity using digital tools.
Thanks to the Hen Grant, students will continue to learn about food insecurity, raising poultry, various breeds, biosecurity and disease prevention for years to come. This project is an excellent example of how urban schools can connect students and their community with agriculture.
With the grant they were awarded, members of the Lawton-Bronson FFA chapter have had the opportunity to learn more about honey bees, the processes of production and the harvest of honey, and how to make other products from honey and wax, like candles and jars of honey. The chapter was able to purchase two bee hives, protective equipment, the tools needed to care for hives and the bees to fill the hives. The project has also helped expose students to the business aspect of bee production — more specifically, learning to plan and create a budget for the honey bee business — further connecting their classroom learning to real-world examples.
The hives the students have set up include the hive stand, bottom box, brood box and top cover. Students helped introduce the bees in NUCs to the hives and have continued to work alongside their teacher to check on the bees, harvest the honey and winterize the hives.
Throughout the year, students have learned the differences between cells in the hive, witnessed the different stages of a bee being developed and harvested enough honey to account for 29 bottles. Members of the community have even reach out to the students to buy more honey after next year's harvest!
Students have reflected on the project, calling it an amazing learning experience that has not only taught them how fulfilling beekeeping can be, but that has provided new-found sense of responsibility. They look forward to continue looking after the hives and caring for their chapter's bee colonies!
The grant supports the Lee County FFA chapter's agricultural education program and helps to maintain the grounds which includes the greenhouse, nursery and school. It also aided in replacing valuable tools that were stolen from the head house in years past. Without the proper equipment they relied on to prevent overgrowth and maintain the nursery, trees and bushes grew and the conditions of the nursery worsened. Thanks to the grant, the new tools were purchased and students were able to work and help clear the overgrown trees and bushes. Work included pruning, raking, trimming and shoveling, and proper disposal using wheelbarrows and wagons. Within just a few weeks, the nursery was returned to its former condition.
Since the cleanup, the chapter has been able to host large gatherings — including an annual pig roast — with community members, even welcoming eleven state officers! The school's greenhouse class has expanded as well, requiring more equipment to meet the increased popularity of the class and the growing interest surrounding landscaping.
Additionally, the chapter was able to send 20 students to volunteer at the Jackson Tractor Supply store. While there, they learned how to take inventory and how to restock the shelves. They helped build two raised garden beds and two swing sets that would be sold in the store. Outside, the students helped rearrange farm gates outside, organize the soil bags, sweep the parking lot and clean up trash, resulting in a storefront that looked outstanding.
Tractor Supply launched a new scholarship program in partnership with the National FFA Organization to support the next generation of farmers and students pursuing careers in agriculture and skilled trades. Each year for the next 5 years, Tractor Supply will commit $1 million to the FFA Future Leaders Scholarship Fund by Tractor Supply, the largest scholarship of its kind.
Tractor Supply will host an instore fundraiser each year leading up to the FFA National Convention to raise funds for the FFA Future Leaders Scholarship.
Highlights of the $1 million annual scholarship fund include the following:
FFA celebrates its members who have developed specialized skills during their time with the organization that can be applied to
future careers. These proficiencies are awarded in nearly 50 areas and are recognized at local and state levels. Tractor Supply
sponsors the following proficiencies:
Fundraiser: 2/14/2024 — 2/25/2024
Apply for a Grant: 3/1/2024 — 5/15/2024
Award Notification: 8/1/2024