County 4-H receives $250K grant

Published 2:51 pm Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Students involved in 4-H clubs in Escambia County may soon see some additional programs and benefits of being a member — thanks to a hefty contribution from Monsanto Corporation.

On hand for the $250,000 check presentation ceremony last Friday was Monsanto District Sales Manager Rod Higdon, Escambia County farmer James Ward Sr., Extension Agent Ken Kelley and Spencer Williamson, 4-H agent assistant.

“These funds will be a great benefit for our 4-H Programs,” Kelley said. “We will be using this towards agricultural education.”

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Higdon said the farming community in the area is what made the funding possible for the program.

“Monsanto selects recipients from areas who have enough agriculture work to qualify for this program,” Higdon said.

“There are only about eight or 10 counties in Alabama that meet those eligibilities for this funding.”

Higdon said a farmer in a qualifying county is selected to make the choice for the group or organization to receive the funding.

“The main reason we do this is to allow a local farmer to be recognized for what farmers do for this country,” Higdon said. “We want to do our part to recognize the value of local farmers and this is one way we can do that.”

Ward said he was happy to choose the local 4-H organization, since the goal of the program is to teach students about agriculture and the aspects of farming.

“I know that 4-H has been working in this county and they are good to help the children learn about farming,” Ward said. “I also know that budgets for this kind of program are being cut and are just about gone. Without Monsanto and other companies making these kinds of contributions, these programs would have a tough time continuing.

“A lot of people don’t realize what these big companies do for our children and our way of life. I appreciate Monsanto for making this possible.”

Ward said he is thankful that groups like 4-H are doing their part to educate children in the aspects of farming, and hopes to see more young people interested in the farming way of life.

“I would say about 99 percent of kids in this county don’t really know where their food comes from,” Ward said. “By continuing what 4-H teaches, more of them will be made aware of what farming does, and where their food comes from when they eat.”