The FFA programs of three local high schools received a financial boost with each being awarded a $3,000 gift from Owensboro Grain.

Apollo, Daviess County and Catholic high schools received the donation, which will go toward activities and projects that will benefit the chapters and the students.

Craig Howard, an FFA teacher at DCHS, said the sales from the fall mum and the Christmas poinsettia fundraisers were significantly down from previous years.

Howard added that Owensboro Grain’s financial gift will help offset those fundraiser losses, which have traditionally been the primary annual moneymakers for the program.

“We appreciate this donation; it’s very kind and nice of them to think of us, especially this year when fundraising for student leadership activities have been diminished,” Howard said.

For Catholic High FFA teacher Erica Tapp, the donation will go toward the eventual construction of a new greenhouse.

Tapp said the plan is to remove the older structure and then build a $15,000 greenhouse on the same site.

“When (Owensboro Grain) gave me that donation, that actually gave me the start to do this greenhouse project,” Tapp said. “…At Owensboro Catholic, I have a lot of kids who live in the city as well as in rural areas. Kids who live in the city don’t really have access to a space to learn how to grow plants. So this greenhouse will be really great for our program.”

Aaron Tucker, an FFA teacher at Apollo, said the donation will help fund educational trips such as the week-long Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., which is sponsored by the National FFA.

Tucker said Apollo’s FFA students also sell poinsettias and a host greenhouse plant sale for their fundraisers, which were hurt as well by the pandemic.

“We didn’t have the kids here to help us sell,” Tucker said. “So this money is a tremendous boost to our budget because $3,000 goes a long way in a high school ag program.”

This is the second time in three years Owensboro Grain has donated to the three FFA programs.

John Wright, executive vice president of Owensboro Grain, said the company has a charitable contribution committee that makes the recommendations each year.

“…It’s important to us because our company has been around for many, many years — over a century,” Wright said. “And we rely on the Future Farmers of America to continue to help our business prosper.”

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

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