Little Switzerland FFA Chapter at WHS receives $2,500 grant for school greenhouse

Posted: April 11, 2012
Little Switzerland FFA Chapter at WHS receives $2,500 grant for school greenhouse

A former member of the Little Switzerland FFA Chapter at Waukon High School has given back to the chapter through the America's Farmers Grow Communities program sponsored by the Monsanto Fund to support local farming communities. Rob Elliott, Seed Account Manager for Corn States LLC, a Monsanto Company, distributed a $2,500 check to chapter and school representatives at an April 4 presentation event at Waukon High School.

Melissa and Randy Wedo of rural Monona were selected as the Allamakee County winner in the program, which allows farmers to register to win $2,500 for their favorite community non-profit organization, such as FFA, 4-H, schools, fire departments and other civic groups. One winner was selected in each of 1,245 eligible counties in 39 states throughout the country.

Melissa Wedo is the former Melissa Ehrhardt and a 2005 graduate of Waukon High School. During her high school career she held numerous leadership positions within the Little Switzerland FFA Chapter and explained her family's reasoning for designating the chapter as its America's Farmers Grow Communities benefactor.

"FFA will have a large impact on you," she shared with the current FFA members in attendance at the check presentation. "I was very active in FFA, and I know I wouldn't be in the position I am in today if I had not gotten involved with FFA. I'm happy to be able to give something back to a program that gave so much to me."

Little Switzerland FFA Advisor and Waukon High School agriculture instructor Jessica O'Connor explained that the funds will be used to help fund construction of an additional greenhouse for use by the FFA chapter. "We are hoping to use the new greenhouse to add things like aquaculture and hydroponics to expand on our current curriculum," she said.

Waukon High School Principal Dan Diercks expressed his appreciation on behalf of the school's administration, stating that he was very impressed with the presentation the school's FFA students gave in regard to the new greenhouse and its additional curriculum possibilities. He said the price tag on a new greenhouse lies between $30,000 and $60,000, and that the donated Monsanto funds "really spearheaded this second greenhouse".

Nearly 60,000 farmers participated in the second annual Grow Communities program this past fall, with the Monsanto Fund investing more than $3.1 million in local communities. For more information and to see a full list of winners, visit

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