FFA grant will help Leesburg Community Center


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The Fairfield FFA Chapter has been awarded a grant designed to help the local Leesburg community.

The grant is provided through the Ohio FFA Foundation’s Agricultural & Rural Community Outreach Program (ARCOP), which 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 aid community development projects. These FFA chapter ARCOP projects often benefit rural residents and have a long-term impact on the community, either economically or through an improved quality of life. Participating FFA chapters will work in collaboration with other local organizations to complete these projects which will cover agricultural topics with an emphasis on decreasing food insecurity, getting fresh foods to communities or helping farm to school efforts.

The Fairfield FFA will be purchasing 50 Cornish Rock Cross chicks from the Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Cincinnati. The chicks will be monitored and raised in a warmed space within the Fairfield FFA’s Shop area for two weeks or until they have gained their under feathers and can be placed outside in the chicken coop area. These market chickens then will continue to be fed out using a high quality feed that will be purchased for four to six more weeks, depending on the finish of the birds.

Once finished, the chickens will be processed at Johnson Farms in Wilmington. When the birds return to the school the day of processing, students will help clean the birds and then they will bag the carcasses. This meat will be donated to the Leesburg Community Center Food Pantry to assist local families in the Leesburg Fairfield School District in fighting hunger.

The Fairfield FFA students will be the responsible party for the caring and raising of the birds with assistance from FFA advisors Kelsey Dickey and Taylor Thomas. The Feeding Fairfield project will begin February 2023 and run through April 2023.

After FFA chapter advisors submitted project proposals to the Ohio FFA Foundation, a total of 12 grants were awarded. The recipients are A.B. Graham Ohio Hi Point FFA, Aiken FFA, Allen East FFA, Bio-Med Science Academy FFA, Clyde FFA, Fairfield FFA, Marysville FFA, National Trail-MVCTC FFA, Ridgewood FFA, Talawanda-Butler Tech FFA, Versailles FFA, and Zane Trace FFA.

The grant projects will be completed between July 2022 and April 2023.

The ARCOP program is a partnership between the Ohio FFA Foundation and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

“FFA is an exemplary organization that gives back to the community and is grooming today’s students to be future leaders of Ohio,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda. “The Ohio Department of Agriculture is proud to support these outstanding FFA chapters and projects that will keep agriculture in the forefront and will help local communities across the state.”

For more information about the Fairfield FFA Chapter’s ARCOP grant project, visit Fairfield FFA on Facebook and fairfieldlocalffa on Instagram.

Submitted by Kelsey J. Dickey, Fairfield Local Schools agriculture instructor and FFA advisor.

Submitted story