Val Aarsvold, Minnesota FFA Foundation

OWATONNA, Minn. – FFA is in the business of helping young people reach their goals and dreams. Minnesota FFA Foundation serves as a financial conduit moving dollars from contributors to ag students and FFA chapters.

A silent auction, held during the North American Farm & Power Show (NAFPS) will support the Minnesota FFA Foundation scholarship fund for young people going into agriculture careers. Exhibitors provide various items that are sold to the highest bidders.

Val Aarsvold, executive director, hopes to bring regional officers and local FFA members to assist with the 2016 silent auction.

“The goal is really to let attendees visit with current members that understand the program and the experience they are going through with FFA,” Aarsvold said. “They share their goals and how they want to develop through their FFA involvement.”

The organization strives to make contributing to the FFA a very personal experience.

Recently, Jim Tracy of Dennison, Minn., willed his farm to the Minnesota FFA Foundation to provide ag scholarships. Income from the farm will initially fund about $5,000 in scholarships, with the funds eventually providing $40,000-$50,000 annually in scholarships.

These scholarships are designated for all types of post-secondary ag studies – short-course, certificate, two-year and four-year programs.

The Foundation also oversees the “Blue Jackets - Bright Futures” program. Donations are being accepted from now until October, when jackets are awarded.

This past year, almost 200 jackets were awarded – and there were 400 applicants. When appropriate, contributors are given the opportunity to find out who receives their funds for a new FFA jacket.

Another program is the FFA Legacy Club that supports chapter grants. Ag teachers and advisors may apply for grants to help finance classroom education or purchase FFA chapter handbooks, manuals and supplies. These grants are very important to new ag programs and new FFA chapters.

“We know we are only as strong as our local programs,” Aarsvold said. “The Legacy Club is our avenue that we work through to get support into the Foundation, but we send it right back out for chapter work.”

Minnesota FFA Foundation Director Val Aarsvold encourages everyone to stop by the silent auction at the North American Farm & Power Show to help support FFA.