The jacket fits

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Through the Blue Jacket Program, Syngenta and its retailer partners are helping FFA develop the ag leaders of tomorrow.

By Lynn Grooms

When one hears “FFA,” a vision of the organization’s iconic blue jacket springs to mind. The distinctive garment has distinguished young agricultural leaders since 1933. Today, more than half a million young people in all 50 states proudly wear it.

In recognition of the jacket’s honored tradition, Syngenta and its retailer partners launched the FFA Blue Jacket Program in 2008. Since then, Syngenta has matched every $2,500 pledged by retailers through the program to support FFA. As a result, together they have now donated more than $2.6 million to the organization.

At the community level, the program contributes a jacket and $500 annually to a local FFA chapter that participating retailers designate. This year, for example, Key Cooperative in Sully, Iowa, selected the Lynnville-Sully FFA chapter as its recipient. The chapter used its contribution to purchase fertilizer for a new 40-acre teaching farm and awarded the jacket to a student, based on outstanding leadership skills and service to the FFA, says Brian Lowry, the chapter’s adviser.

“We’re happy to give young people opportunities to learn about agriculture and the careers it offers,” says Chad Conover, southeast region agronomy manager, Key Cooperative.

The Blue Jacket Program also contributes a portion of its total donations to national FFA programs, such as the National Collegiate Agricultural Ambassadors, the American FFA Degree program, Chapter Leadership Continuum conferences and the Agriscience Fair.

Frenchman Valley Cooperative in Imperial, Neb., has contributed to the FFA Blue Jacket Program for the last five years, designating the Imperial FFA chapter as its local recipient. “FFA gives young people the chance to lead and develop confidence, as well as to compete and win or lose with the proper attitude,” says Tom Gaschler, a master agronomist with the co-op.

In addition, Syngenta now matches every $1,000 pledged by the company’s partnering seed advisers and farmer dealers through the new Rising Sun Program, giving them the opportunity to support FFA on both the local and national level. This year, the program touched nearly 30 communities.

“Syngenta appreciates its partners’ support for these programs, which are helping to supply the education and talent the ag industry needs,” says J.R. Peterson, Syngenta customer marketing campaign lead.

For more information about the FFA Blue Jacket and Rising Sun programs, contact J.R. Peterson, customer marketing campaign lead, Syngenta, at 515-222-4833 or jr.peterson@syngenta.com.

True Blue
Adopted as official attire for FFA members in 1933, the blue corduroy jacket has become the symbol of the organization’s commitment to agriculture and its mission of making a positive difference in the lives of young people. FFA has issued more than 4 million of the jackets since first introducing them.