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Ohio FFA chapters receive grants for local communities
By Doug Graves
Ohio Correspondent

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Each year, FFA chapters across Ohio are awarded grants designed to help their local communities. The Ohio FFA Foundation’s Agricultural & Rural Community Outreach Program (ARCOP) provides support to build sustainable relationships and programs that will benefit Ohio communities for years to come. Originally introduced in 2013, ARCOP grants allow Ohio FFA chapters to apply for funding that aids community development projects.
These projects are to address the needs of farmers and rural individuals, educational agricultural programs, agriculture awareness and promotion, agriculture and feed economic development and more. The ARCOP program is a partnership between the Ohio FFA Foundation and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).
Twelve FFA chapters in the state got busy, with projects ranging from raised plant beds at nearby schools to beekeeping projects, from portable hydroponic towers in communities to sustainable greenhouses and much more.
After FFA chapter advisors submitted project proposals to the Ohio FFA Foundation, the grants were awarded to the following FFA chapters: Benjamin Logan, Allen East, Zane Trace, Miller City, Mohawk, Versailles, Twin Valley South-MVCTC, Peebles, Global Impact, Houston-UVCC, Tinora and Loudonville.
This year, funding priority went to projects focused on teaching children the origin of the food they eat, helping to promote fresh, healthy foods in their communities. Projects were to be aligned with these principles, with an emphasis on decreasing food insecurity, getting fresh foods to communities or helping farm-to-school efforts.
Members of the Zane Trace FFA will work with first and second grade students to grow fruits and vegetables for the school cafeteria. They will also raise chickens in a portable chicken coop to donate meat and eggs to the Church Triumphant Food Pantry. Elementary students will participate in programs to learn about food production.
“My students have practiced skills ranging from food preservation to event planning to gardening and construction through our funded projects,” said Jennifer Johnston, Zane Trace FFA advisor. “We’re grateful to the Ohio Department of Agriculture for creating and supporting this program.”
Members from the Benjamin Logan FFA Chapter will be providing agricultural knowledge through hands-on applications and experiences to nearly 500 Logan County elementary school students. Children will learn more about the production of cereal grains, beef, milk and vegetables through classroom visits and farm field trips.
The Twin Valley South-MVCTC FFA, in partnership with the Preble County ESC, received a grant to expose third grade students in every Preble County school to career opportunities in the agricultural industry. All FFA chapters in Preble County, including Eaton-MVCTC, National Trail-MVCTC, Preble Shawnee and Tri-County North-MVCTC, were involved in the project of conducting an ‘Ag STEM Day’ at the Preble County Fairgrounds last month. Through interactive presentations by FFA members, students learned more about agriculture and how it affects their daily lives. Participating students were sent home with an “Ag Bag” to further their experience.
With the help of grant funds and support from local businesses, the Tinora FFA Chapter will build a greenhouse at their new high school to grow various vegetables and flowers available to the Defiance community. The structure will also house an existing hydroponic system with will provide lettuce for the school.
“FFA is an exemplary organization that gives back to the community and is grooming today’s students to be future leaders of Ohio,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director. “The Ohio Department of Agriculture is proud to support these outstanding FFA chapters and their projects that will keep agriculture in the forefront and will help local communities across the state.”