With no state fair, Minnesota FFA hosting first Great Minnesota Give-Together

Emily Beal
Forum News Service

The Minnesota FFA Foundation will be hosting its first annual Great Minnesota Give-Together Telethon, Sept. 1, a date that is familiar to FFA and 4-H members across the state — a date that normally falls during the Minnesota State Fair.

“We felt we needed to have a presence during the state fair time. The state fair is such a time honored tradition, families would normally be making their way to the state fairgrounds during that time. We felt it was important to remind the state about the impact agriculture education and FFA has during this difficult time,” said Val Aarsvold, executive director Minnesota FFA Foundation.

The telethon was brought into fruition to be a reminder and to bring awareness of the impact agriculture education has on Minnesota youth and the state in general.

“We are putting on this event so we as an agricultural family can come together and celebrate what’s right with student success in agriculture education,” Aarsvold said.

The event itself will have many speakers from within the agriculture industry. However, students will be in the forefront of the telethon. Minnesota’s state FFA officers have been tasked with finding agricultural leaders in their region and asking them to be a part of the telethon.

The hope is that these ag leaders will help share the importance of ag education within Minnesota. There are eight different FFA regions throughout the state of Minnesota, and each region will be given a half hour segment during the telethon.

While there will be keynote speakers, the Minnesota FFA Foundation is also dedicated to showing Minnesota’s agriculture stories.

“We will be capturing some of the beautiful stories in agriculture that are happening around our state through video storytelling,” Aarsvold said.

Although, the Minnesota FFA Foundation is hoping this event will bring awareness to the importance of agriculture education in the state, it is also hoping to have sponsors invest in Minnesota’s youth.

The funds collected will be used to help current Minnesota FFA programs, while also helping fund new programs. The state of Minnesota is currently experiencing a shortage of agriculture education teachers, the foundation hopes to one day fill all the available spots.

“We would love to fill all open positions with a qualified agriculture education teacher, in order to achieve this, we need to grow our numbers” Aarsvold said.

In addition to the general sponsors, the foundation is hoping to form a matching contribution. Matching partners would match contributions donated to the foundation, making each donation reach farther.

“At the end of the day, we have to give our young people access to agriculture education, while investing in our current students,” Aarsvold said.

The Minnesota FFA Foundation hopes that the state of Minnesota will be able to gather together once again at the state fair in 2021, but is also hopeful that the Give-Together Telethon will give the Minnesota agriculture community something to look forward to, not only this year, but in the years to come.

“We know there is a lot of interest about learning in ag education and agriculture across the state, and there is a real need for it. We encourage people across the state and across the Upper Midwest to follow along with us on Sept. 1. And if they see the value of investing in young people, we encourage them to get involved,” Aarsvold said.

The Great Minnesota Give-Together Telethon will be held on Sept. 1, 2020 from 4-8 pm. The telethon can be streamed through The Minnesota FFA Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Minnesota FFA members. Courtesy photo