Thanks to a designation by a local farmer, Clay County 4-H has received a donation that will make running its programs a bit easier.
David Fallan of Vermillion was selected as one of the winners in the Americas Farmers Grow Communities program, which afforded farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 for a local nonprofit organization.
The $2,500 donation was awarded at a ceremony last month at the Clay County Extension office in Vermillion.
Will Kennedy, 4-H/youth development educator for the South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service, said the county is just thrilled about the donation.
It just let us be able to do what we are doing now, but do it better and maybe even continue some programs that we wouldnt be able to fund otherwise, he said. Its just great. It is tremendous.
Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the Grow Communities program offers the opportunity to benefit a local nonprofit to farmers in more than 1,200 eligible counties in 38 different states.
In a press release, Fallan said he is very excited to have been selected as the winner for Clay County.
4-H is a great program for kids and the community, he said. I am glad to be able to send the money their way, because I know every little bit helps.
Kennedy said the money will help with the operation of some of 4-Hs clubs.
Weve got a couple of clubs that do require some equipment, and the numbers are huge and growing all the time, and it just gave us an opportunity to keep up with that especially with the tight budgets right now. It really, really made a difference for us, he said.
Two specific clubs that will benefit from the donation are the Shooting Sports Club and the Dog Club.
The Shooting Sports Club is just a very, very large group, Kennedy said. They not only teach the mandates of the 4-H program, but they also teach safety and responsibility.
Margaret Williams is the leader of (the Dog Club), and she meets with these youth two nights a week year-round. (She) just does a tremendous service for the youth and their families, helping them with their dogs and things like that, Kennedy said. There is a lot of equipment and costs that goes along with that, also, and that really makes it easier to use the 4-H mandates.
The rest of the money will help to defray the cost of some of 4-Hs summer science activities that are offered through the Department of Parks and Recreation.
The Monsanto Fund expects to invest more than $3 million in local communities through the Grow Communities program, which began with two pilot programs held in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
Dorothy Tate, assistant account executive with Osborn & Barr Communications, said farmers could put forth their favorite local nonprofits through a simple sign-up process.
There was an online link that they could sign up at, there was a phone number that they could call, and also at a lot of nationwide farm shows, there was a kiosk where they could go, she said. It was a very simple sign-up process, just put in name, address, county and then the organization they wanted the money to go to.
Any farmer that qualified could just do the simple sign-up process, and then it was a random drawing, she said.
Sign-up lasted from August 2010 until December.
Kennedy said programs like Grow Communities are very beneficial to the operations of a nonprofit like Clay County 4-H.
They are extremely important, and as the budgets state and federal go as they are now, they are going to be a huge part of us being able to continue in the way we are now. They are going to be key going forward, he said.
For a complete list of winners in the Americas Farmers Grow Communities program, visit www.growcommunities.com.