- West Central Ag Boosters have been awarded a $25,000 Hometown Pride grant by Cenex and Farmers Cooperative Oil of Elbow Lake and Wendell.
- The grant aims to support the Growing Grant County initiative, which focuses on agricultural education, local food production, and philanthropy.
- The initiative has a state-of-the-art greenhouse cultivates various produce items for local schools and food shelves.
- The grant will expand resources, including a new meat processing trailer and additional classroom space.
- The program collaborates with local farmers, gardeners, and growers to collect and distribute excess produce to needy people.
The West Central Ag Boosters, in support of the Growing Grant County initiative, have been awarded a $25,000 Hometown Pride grant. Cenex, the energy brand of CHS, and Farmers Cooperative Oil of Elbow Lake and Wendell provided the grant. The initiative aims to advance agricultural education, meat and vegetable production, and philanthropy in local communities.
Growing Grant County was initiated two years ago under the visionary leadership of Eric Sawatzke, an agriculture education instructor at West Central Area Schools. The program was established in partnership with the West Central Initiative, West Central Area Schools, and Ashby Schools. It operates a state-of-the-art greenhouse that cultivates various produce items, including lettuce, cucumbers, strawberries, and peppers, for distribution within schools and local food shelves.
Use of the Grant
The Hometown Pride grant will further the initiative by providing the tools and resources needed to continue serving residents. Specifically, the grant will be used for electrical and space needs for a new mobile meat processing trailer and for purchasing various items needed to produce food.
Educational and Community Impact
The initiative educates students in processing, storing, and distributing meats to local food shelves. Students gain hands-on experience through access to a processing and butchering trailer and necessary refrigeration equipment. The program also collaborates with local farmers, gardeners, and growers to collect excess produce, process it, and distribute it to needy people.
Derek Birdsall, general manager at Farmers Cooperative Oil of Elbow Lake and Wendell, expressed excitement about the program’s impact on the community and its future growth. Mimi Berlin, a marketing expert at CHS, highlighted that the Cenex brand takes great pride in supporting local communities through its Hometown Pride grant program.
With continuous investments into local organizations through its Hometown Pride grant program, Cenex shows its commitment to rural neighborhoods. By the end of 2023, Cenex will have donated over $500,000 to local organizations since the program’s inception in 2019.
Image provided by CHS