HOUSTON — On Dec. 21, 2015, at the Hardin-Houston Local School district’s board meeting, the Hardin-Houston FFA Chapter received a $10,000 grant from Cargill Corporation’s Environmental Care Committee Sidney location.
The donation is earmarked to assist in completing a greenhouse being constructed in spring 2016 as part of the Houston Agricultural Education program’s initiative, “Greenhouse Management: STEM through Agricultural Education.”
H-H FFA Advisor Derek McCracken, along with students Micalah Hensley and Azen Reier, members of the FFA leadership team, accepted the check from Cargill representatives Jason Brewer and Karla Pottkotter.
“A greenhouse provides our students with the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning and apply it to plant production practices, marketing, and business relations,” said McCracken.
“This donation is not a gift from Cargill, but an investment in our future,” said Brewer who is the Cargill Crush Plant Superintendent. “We see the talent that Hardin-Houston Local School offers and want to support the opportunities available to your students. Cargill employs accountants, engineers, graphic designers, and individuals on the floor. We want to expose students to the vast career opportunities available at Cargill right here in Shelby County.”
Within Brewer’s presentation, he shared Cargill Care Committee’s innovative and benevolent history of giving back to local communities. Cargill Facility Care Committees across the nation annually search for potential grant recipients that meet the local committee’s unique criteria.
Many of the recipients are area businesses, homeless shelters, food kitchens, among other various types of organizations, and includes public schools. The desire to reinvest community agricultural dollars back into local economies has been a successful venture for the International Cargill Corporation and falls under three grant categories including, Environmental, Nutrition and Education. The local Sidney Care Committee alone awards up to $240,000 to worthy applicants each year.
It was through the Hardin-Houston Local School’s Five Year Strategic Plan, located on the district’s website, which first caught the attention of the Care Committee. The proposed 1200 square foot glass and steel structure greenhouse project met the criteria Cargill was searching for.
McCracken is excited and looking forward to the positive impact the project will have within the Hardin-Houston district. “Agricultural Education students will manage the greenhouse operations and will correspond with community members to advertise the greenhouse sale as a fundraiser, beginning in 2017,” he said. “Money gained through this sale will be used to support future leadership development for members of the Houston FFA Chapter.”
“The H-H Local Board of Education, administration, staff, students and community members wish to thank the Cargill Care Committee for their generous donation,” said H-H Superintendent Larry Claypool. “We are grateful for Cargill’s partnership in assisting districts like Hardin-Houston in providing new opportunities for hands-on teaching to today’s young students.”