Jul 25, 2022Virginia Produce, Harris Teeter support ag scholarships
In May and June, produce supplier Virginia Produce Co.’s partnership with Harris Teeter stores through the Growing America’s Farmers (GAF) promotional program generated $18,000 in scholarship and grant funds for Virginia FFA students.
The Hillsville, Virginia, based Virginia Produce (VPC) is a third-generation family-operated grower, packer, shipper, processor and marketer that manages 43 farms.
GAF was designed to donate a portion of the sales of designated products, sweet corn in this case, to the National FFA Foundation. FFA designates the funds to state FFA programs of the retailer’s choice to support students pursuing careers in production agriculture.
“It’s so rewarding to see the growth of this program and celebrate the work of committed organizations like VA Produce and Harris Teeter. Their success proves what a blessing this program is to students pursuing careers in production agriculture,” GAF Founder Walt Dasher of G&R Farms, a Glennville, Georgia, Vidalia onion grower, said in a news release.
Since 2017, GAF has raised nearly $350,000 for FFA member scholarships throughout the U.S. in its sixth year supporting the program, Harris Teeter has helped raise funds totaling nearly $40,000 for students in Virginia and North Carolina. This is the first year the retailer has included sweet corn from VPC. A formal check presentation was made at the Virginia State FFA Convention in June.
“Our Team at Harris Teeter is proud to support local growers such as G&R Farms and Virginia Produce Company to help further our mutual mission of advancing produce consumption, agriculture development and the success of future generations of leaders,” Karin Humanik, Harris Teeter’s director of produce, said in the release. “Harris Teeter is pleased to assist in providing access to our stores to enable and develop our FFA students into successful young adults, and to partner to provide resources to encourage the future generation of leaders to study agriculture locally.”
In understanding that need, VPC CEO Moir Beamer is also passionate about the next generation of farmers. “It was so rewarding to use our business to help invest in FFA members and know that we are helping them financially as they begin their studies in college,” Beamer said in the release. “With the challenges we’re all experiencing from the farm all the way down to the grocery store, the whole supply chain needs to support our agriculture students. They’re who will be growing the food we need to feed the future generations.”
FFA has been successful at attracting and training those leaders. With more than 760,000 members in 8,739 chapters in all 50 states, including chapters in 24 of the 25 largest U.S. cities, FFA’s impact is widespread, according to the release. The association is also setting records in member diversity. In Virginia, FFA has nearly 10,000 FFA members and has continued to show growth thanks to expanded programing in agriculture, food, technology, and natural resources.
“These FFA students are some of the best and brightest and know they are our future…they will be our next farmers and ranchers and grow our food – they are truly shining stars,” Beamer said in the release.
For six years, Growing America’s Farmers has continued to grow and recognize the importance of supporting the next generation of producers. “These results show the power of combined efforts when companies work together for the same goal, everybody wins,” Dasher said in the release. “I can’t wait to welcome more grower shippers and retailers into our program to secure the future of agriculture.”