The Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa State Future Farmers of America (FFA) have started a new grant program designed to help educated future farmers about protecting the environment, and area chapters will have the opportunity to apply for up to $2,000 in grant money to help spread this information to their members.
The FFA Environment First grant program will provide FFA chapters across Iowa with resources to conduct, promote and publicize activities that enhance environmental awareness and stewardship.
To assist in these efforts, the Iowa Farm Bureau is making $80,000 available in grant funding so that a minimum of 40 chapters across the state can participate in the program.
Grant applications have been sent to all FFA chapters in Iowa, and are being made available on the Iowa State FFA website at www.agiowa.org. Applications are due Feb. 22, and recipients of the grants will be named during National Ag Week, which takes place March 17-22.
Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Lang said he was excited about the program, particularly with the effort to raise awareness about environmental issues.
"Farmers must know that if their farming operation, families and communities are to prosper, they must care for the land, water and air," Lang said. "And, they must develop partnerships with others who share that same commitment. We think this program can help make environmental stewardship come alive for all Iowans.
Lang said there are a number of activities which could be eligible for grant funding, including environmental presentations to youth, administering water or soil quality testing, conducting recycling programs, sponsoring tree plantings or having the students engage in other community betterment projects.
The programs must be completed during the 2002 calendar year to be eligible for the funding, and should try to engage fellow students, faculty and residents in the different activities.