Giving back to FFA

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 24, 2019 12:01 am

URSA, Ill. -- The Lewis County FFA chapter knows a little bit about salesmanship, and their skills paid off.

The chapter took home $1,500 Monday afternoon from Ursa Farmers Cooperative for selling the most tickets in a raffle tied to the business' centennial celebration.

"We have some kids really into it, some who are very convincing," chapter secretary Kenzie Rutledge said.

The chapter plans to use the money to help with travel expenses and to buy additional equipment for the program and the ag classroom.

Fourteen area FFA chapters sold tickets for a 2019 Mohindra Roxor, which was won by Tammy Pearl of Kahoka, with UFC offering financial incentives for their work.

The Clark County chapter got $1,000 for selling the winning ticket, and 13 chapters -- Central, Illini West, Liberty, Payson, Quincy, Southeastern, Unity and Warsaw in Illinois; Canton R-5, Clark County, Marion County R-II and Palmyra in Missouri and Central Lee in Iowa -- got $250 for selling at least 50 tickets.

The co-op, in total, handed out $5,750 as an early Christmas gift at their administrative offices north of Ursa.

UFC Controller Karen Voss said chapters sold from 50 to 350 tickets and likely could have sold double the maximum 2,000 available tickets.

"The co-op wanted to do something in honor of our centennial celebration," Voss said. "This was a way to get some money out to the FFA chapters as well."

UFC General Manager Roger Hugenberg said many of the co-op's patrons and board members, in addition to getting a start in farming with their parents, gained more hands-on skills thanks to ag classes and FFA membership.

"FFA was real instrumental," Hugenberg said.

Clark County FFA plans to use its check to help cover the cost of attending a leadership conference -- including for Pearl's daughter Halea Davis, a chapter member -- held every year in Washington, D.C.

Selling the tickets "was an excellent opportunity," Clark County ag teacher Mark Lemmon said. "They've always helped us out. We wanted to help them sell tickets. It worked out well for us and helped Ursa out, too."

Pearl bought at least 12 tickets to help the Clark County FFA, but still was surprised to win the Roxor.

"We probably won't do a lot of off-roading with it. We'll take it in parades," Pearl said. "We would like to take it around to promote 4-H, FFA, veterans."

The raffle, announced at the co-op's annual meeting held in August, kicked off the centennial celebration for the business.

UFC, which got its start at an organizational meeting held in May 1920, serves about 4,700 members in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, predominantly in Illinois and Missouri, with 88 full-time employees and another 10 or more seasonal part-time employees. The co-op operates 10 locations in Illinois and Missouri -- four river terminals and six inland sites -- along with an administrative office.