Thousands of FFA members from hundreds of FFA chapters in 12 states have finished a huge effort to connect with local farmers, and 11 FFA chapters in Mississippi have been named state winners.

The Mantachie FFA Chapter from Mantachie, Miss., received 398 votes from local farmers to earn to top honors statewide in the 2012 FFA Chapter Challenge. The Itawamba County chapter will receive a $2,500 FFA Certificate of Credit good for FFA-related costs including chapter supplies, registration fees for national leadership conferences and other items.

For more, see here and here.

The FFA Chapter Challenge, a second year program expanded to 12 states in 2012, challenged FFA members to meet farmers in their local communities to build relationships and learn about different agricultural careers. After meeting, FFA members encouraged the farmers to vote for their chapter online or over the phone.

Monsanto sponsors the FFA Chapter Challenge as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

“The mission of FFA goes beyond farming but its heart will always be in creating new generations of leaders who understand agriculture and small communities,” said Linda Arnold, Monsanto customer outreach lead. “Monsanto is proud to partner with the National FFA Foundation to help local chapters create that bond with the people who grow our food and build our communities.”

Voting for the 2012 FFA Chapter Challenge began Jan. 16 after expanding to 12 states this year, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. The campaign finished Feb. 29, with over 10,000 votes being cast nationally during the final week of competition.

The top FFA chapter in each of the 12 states received a $2,500 FFA Certificate of Credit, while chapters ranked second through tenth in each state will receive credits worth between $1,000 and $2,000. Eighty other at-large chapters will receive credits worth $1,000 in the campaign to bring FFA chapters closer to local farmers in their community.

Mississippi FFA chapters in Meridian, Laurel, Booneville, Batesville, Kossuth, Oxford, Potts Camp, Kosciuosko and Saltillo scored in the top-10 of the state contest. On FFA chapter in Taylorsville was selected as an at-large winner.

An impressive 856 FFA chapters participated in the FFA Chapter Challenge. The Lawrence County FFA Chapter in Moulton, Ala., won the 2012 FFA Chapter Challenge grand prize that will send six FFA members and one advisor to October's 85th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. The grand prize is valued at $6,500.

Complete results are available here and here. 

The National FFA Foundation is the fundraising arm of the National FFA Organization, which provides agricultural education to 540,379 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,489 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Top 10 Mississippi FFA Chapter Challenge Winners:

  • Mantachie FFA (Manatchie, Itawamba, $2,500).
  • Clarkdale FFA (Meridian, Lauderdale, $2,000).
  • Northeast Jones FFA (Laurel, Jones, $1,500) .
  • Booneville FFA (Booneville, Prentiss, $1,250) .
  • South Panola FFA (Batesville, Panola, $1,250).
  • Kossuth FFA (Kossuth, Alcorn, $1,250) .
  • Lafayette FFA (Oxford, Lafayette, $1,000).
  • Potts Camp FFA (Potts Camp, Marshall, $1,000).
  • Kosciusko Attala VTC FFA (Kosciusko, Attala, $1,000).
  • Saltillo FFA (Saltillo, Lee, $1,000).

At-Large Mississippi FFA Chapter Challenge Winners:

  • Taylorsville FFA (Taylorsville, Smith, $1,000).