MARSHALL - With the newly-established Minnesota FFA Foundation Legacy Club, individuals and couples have the opportunity to assist in ensuring a bright future for agricultural education, FFA and ultimately, the students it serves, through financial support.
Funds raised will help provide support for the development of new and existing Minnesota FFA chapters.
Michael Dove, Minnesota FFA Foundation chairman, referred back to the FFA creed, which is: "I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds."
"I think about those familiar words of the FFA Creed and the significant impact FFA has on the lives of countless students. So many of us learned those words as freshmen and strive to embody it in our daily lives. FFA is a cornerstone in shaping and developing tomorrow's leaders," Dove said in a news release. "Now is the time to re-ignite your belief in the future of agriculture and FFA by joining the Minnesota FFA Foundation Legacy Club."
Those interested in making a donation can find more information at www.mnffafoundation.org or by calling Executive Director Val Aarsvold at 507-534-0188.
The first 200 contributors to the Legacy Club will receive a signed and numbered limited edition print from Bonnie Mohr, a well-known rural agricultural artist.
"We are excited to be working with Bonnie in this effort," Dove said. "In her painting 'We Live to Share,' Bonnie captures the spirit of agricultural education and the FFA experience and opportunity for individuals to give back to an organization that helps develop leaders."
Mohr, a past FFA member, served as state FFA secretary from 1980-1981. She grew up on a dairy farm, learning the importance of belonging to a family where everyone was important and played a role in the success of their farm.
"My participation in farm chores, family events and youth organizations like FFA shaped me as a youth and have stayed with me into adulthood, the working world and now guide me while raising my own family and growing a business," Mohr said in a news release.
Legacy Club membership also offers a variety of benefits from the Minnesota FFA Foundation and the companies that support the Star Partner programs in addition to being invited to events with special guest speakers from the Minnesota agricultural community. Above all, membership provides a change to become involved in the advancement of agriculture education and the future of Minnesota youth.
"The wonderful thing about FFA is that it has something for everyone," said Brian Boomgaarden, FFA adviser and agriculture teacher at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton High School. "No matter what the students' interests are, whether it's leadership, running a business, career development or working on the political end of things, FFA provides opportunities."
Boomgaarden estimates that more than 50 percent of the district's student body is involved in FFA.
"We just see a lot of kids, and it's fun to see them grow as an individual," Boomgaarden said. "They don't always see themselves as leaders, but then end up being good leaders. We see them compete locally and then move on to the state and national level. A lot of times, they see that they're just as smart as a kids from other states."
For many, participating in FFA provides experiences that they wouldn't get otherwise. Some students are drawn to a new career path, Boomgaarden said, while others find out it's not what they expected. Either way, the experience is typically worthwhile.
"I always tell the kids that they may find things they don't like, but that it's better to find out now than to go to college for two years and find out," Boomgaarden said. "Students can find out their skills and what areas they might be interested in, whether it's ag-related or not. For a lot of the kids, what I see more than anything is that the experience just helps improve their self-confidence."