Red Brand surpasses $1 million in FFA support through funding initiative

Farm Forum

PEORIA, Ill. – Red Brand’s Home Grown program has propelled the company into an elite position with the National FFA by surpassing $1 million in financial support for the student-based educational organization.

In 2010, Keystone Steel and Wire Co., maker of Red Brand fence, launched Home Grown, a program designed to benefit FFA through its Red Brand agricultural fencing sales division. The grass-roots funding initiative was created as a way for retailers and communities to connect with their local FFA chapters and generate funds based on fence orders. Red Brand donates $1.00 to a designated local chapter on behalf of the retail sponsor for each roll of fence ordered.

Each year over 700 local chapters receive an average of $400 as a result of Home Grown. “More than 500 retailers participate annually, and the number continues to increase each year, illustrating just how valuable this program has become,” said Dain Rakestraw, Marketing Manager for Red Brand. “Not only does a dealer’s Home Grown participation help to raise funds for their local FFA chapter, they also help raise awareness and educate their local community about the important role that FFA plays in the lives of our future ag leaders.”

While not typical, Rakestraw said that last year the Platte-Geddes FFA Chapter in South Dakota received over $7,100 from Home Grown, the largest amount presented to date to one chapter from the sales of a single retailer. “This check demonstrates the true effectiveness of local partnerships and the program’s unlimited potential,” Rakestraw explained. “We have heard from so many students and advisors about the benefits of the Home Grown program,” Rakestraw continued. “Funds will be used for everything from year-end banquets to community projects to participation at state and national conventions. The possibility to impact these young people on so many levels is what it’s all about.”

In addition to contributing to local chapters through Home Grown, Red Brand helps fund national programs like student achievement awards and SAE grants. Red Brand has also developed a classroom fence curriculum for advisors and a fence installer SAE business opportunity for students.