County fairs have come and gone but Wilco’s support of youth programs extends far beyond summer
Mt. Angel, OR, Dec. 7, 2020 – Wilco awarded another $8,000 in Oregon FFA grants to two deserving chapters this past week. Astoria FFA will receive $4,000 to help purchase drip irrigation, benches, and other supplies to set up their larger greenhouse which doubles the space available for their program. Crook County FFA will also receive a $4,000 grant to help install pod irrigation and cross fencing to add two additional pastures for their land lab. This is the final cycle of the 2020 Wilco grant program, which earmarks $25,000 annually to directly benefit individual Oregon FFA chapters, part of the over $125,000 donation that Wilco makes annually to the Oregon FFA Foundation which has surpassed $1,000,000 since Wilco’s FFA Forever program begin.
This announcement follows the Boots and Blues benefit event, where Wilco asked customers to name and vote on programs they wanted proceeds from the sale of bags to go towards. Customers voted for two equine therapy centers in the Northwest: Healing Reins in Oregon and Horses Guiding Humans in Washington. Wilco split 100% of the $12,500 in bag sales, so each non-profit is receiving over $6,000 to support their therapeutic riding centers.
“Wilco is committed to helping youth in agriculture thrive,” said Sam Bugarsky, President & CEO of Wilco. “The core value of ‘community’ dates back to our roots and is seen today in the lives of our farmer-owners. We look forward to continued support of these youth programs as we partner with our vendors, customers, employees, and farmer-owners to assure our future is bright,” he added.
In 2020, Wilco offered to help county fairs put on virtual auctions to make sure 4H and FFA kids could still sell their animals during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. There were 11 county fairs that took Wilco up on their offer and used the $2,000 to help with fees and expenses of hosting a virtual livestock auction. In addition to helping support and assure virtual auctions took place, Wilco was an active bidder in them all. Wilco contributed to over 100 animals and bid thousands of times to bump up prices and assure kids had successful auctions.
“Many of our team members were in FFA and 4H as kids, so we immediately recognized how disheartening the situation was with fairs canceled. We were happy to add the additional donations and be active in virtual auctions to add good things in tough times,” Bugarsky said.
And to kickoff youth projects next year, Wilco has also mailed out over $150,000 in rebates for those with Youth Accounts. Wilco’s Youth program offers everyday discounts on key items needed for 4H, FFA, and Equestrian projects, plus a year-end rebate that will help jumpstart 2021’s projects as we approach a New Year.