SUTHERLAND — Shelled corn kernels freely flowed out of an auger Friday afternoon and into a semitrailer truck parked in a field on Elleigh Fisher’s family farm near Sutherland.
The crop harvest was part of a corn drive that benefits the North Platte High School’s FFA program.
It is the second year of the event in which area farmers donate crops for the FFA chapter. The chapter then sells the crops to a local cooperative, which helps secure funding for the program.
Two combines, three grain carts and three semis were on hand at the Fisher site.
“It’s one of our two biggest (fundraisers) of the year,” said Fisher, a junior and the vice president of the school’s FFA program. “I hope it’s something that continues.”
Last year’s drive netted about $5,500 for the program after about a semi-and-a-half of grain was collected. The goal is to at least match that amount this year.
Each truck can haul 1,000 to 1,200 bushels of corn.
Fisher, who took a turn maneuvering the grain cart, said her family’s farm was just one of about 10 stops on Friday and among 17 farms that are donating corn this year.
The drive ends next Friday. The crops are transported to Ag Valley Co-op in North Platte. Proceeds will help cover costs for the chapter’s projects and events, which include state and national FFA conventions.
The state FFA program, held in April annually, was canceled last spring due to COVID-19. The national convention is scheduled for the last week of October and will be a virtual event with the pandemic’s social gathering recommendations in place.
“We are hoping that next year we will be able to do the in-person (trip) to the national convention and make the trip to Indianapolis,” said Kathleen Craig, the adviser for the North Platte FFA program.
Craig said the chapter also has visited local elementary schools in the past to conduct agriculture lessons with the students.
COVID-19 has prevented them from making in-person visits this fall.
“We have discussed maybe being able to (have a) Zoom (meeting) with those students,” Craig said.
There are roughly 30 members in the North Platte FFA program. There is a chapter meeting once a month and the officer team meets monthly as well.
Craig, who graduated from NPHS in 2013, started the FFA program at the school two years ago.
“We did not have an ag program when I was in high school ... and I thought it was something that we needed as a part of the school because of the community that we are in and the communities that we are surrounded by,” Craig said. “I thought it was really important to try and bring this program to the high school and I was really excited to be the one to do it.”
While FFA stood for “Future Farmers of America” at one time, Fisher said the organization has grown beyond that former designation.
“We are really about community and leadership,” said Fisher, who is in her third year of involvement with the FFA. “We get out in the community a lot and we help other kids to know what agriculture is. We educate them on agriculture.”
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