NC State Youth Development Programs Receive Gift From Farm Credit

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North Carolina 4-H and North Carolina FFA have each received a $50,000 gift from Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina, the proceeds from annual Pull for Youth fundraiser events.

“I appreciate the partnership, and I appreciate their trust in the programs, both 4-H and FFA,” said Rich Bonanno, NC State Extension director, who took part in a presentation at the Southern Farm Show on the North Carolina State fairgrounds Feb. 3. “Both of the programs are incredibly important from a youth leadership standpoint. They respect our ability to be part of the growth of youth, with the expectation that they will become future leaders of the agricultural industry.”

Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina inaugurated the Pull for Youth fundraisers six years ago. Participants enjoy a day of shooting sporting clays while contributing to the future of agriculture in North Carolina. Three events across the state raised $70,000 in 2022, officials with AgCarolina Farm Credit and Carolina Farm Credit said. An additional $30,000 was donated by CoBank, part of the U.S. Farm Credit system.

“We wanted to find a way to make a commitment to 4-H and FFA,” said Carolina Farm Credit president and CEO Vance Dalton, who serves on the 4-H Development Fund board. “We came up with Pull for Youth as a way to do that. We believe in the organizations. We’ve got to support youth and help them find ways to stay in agriculture, and come back to our rural communities. If we don’t have young people interested in the field of agriculture, our future won’t exist.”

4-H and FFA youth development NC State Extension fundraiser Pull for Youth Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina

4-H state program director Mike Yoder, Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina CEOs Evan Kleinhans and Vance Dalton, 4-H representative Chloe Allen, and NC State Extension director Rich Bonanno.

One of the first 4-H projects accomplished with contributions from Pull for Youth events was the completion of the dining hall renovation at Camp Millstone.

“The dining hall was not weatherized. We added heating and air and insulated the building so now we can use it year round,” said Mike Yoder, 4-H state program leader with NC State Extension. “It really helps with the types of programs we can offer, and the number of programs. This has been a great partnership. We certainly appreciate all they have done for 4-H.”

The relationship between Farm Credit and 4-H and FFA has become stronger over the years. Farm Credit officials are confident the donated funds are used by the youth organizations to accomplish the mission of training future leaders.

“I’ve got to brag on the 4-H and the FFA folks,” said John Bledsoe, senior training and development specialist with AgCarolina Farm Credit. “They hop in, they roll up their sleeves and go to work with us. We’re very thankful for their leadership teams.”

4-H and FFA youth development NC State Extension fundraiser Pull for Youth Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina

FFA state officers with Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina CEOs Evan Kleinhans and Vance Dalton.

North Carolina 4-H, coordinated by NC State Extension, organizes more than 4,000 activities in all 100 counties across North Carolina and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for youth between the ages of 5-19. They include community and project clubs, special interest programs, school enrichment programs and afterschool programs.

North Carolina FFA is made up of 338 chapters across the state. Within those chapters, there are more than 30,000 students ranging in age from middle school to high school. FFA prepares members for leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

Discover how you can support 4-H and FFA and help develop the next generation of leaders.