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North Carolina FFA receives major grant from Tobacco Trust Fund Commission

Media Contact: Joshua Starling, executive director of the North Carolina FFA Foundation, 919-513-7069 

The North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has awarded $180,540 to the North Carolina FFA to improve high school agricultural education programs throughout the state.

The new Agricultural Education Program Improvement Grant, which receives exclusive support from the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, aims to provide much-needed resources to local agricultural education programs and FFA chapters in high schools.

“This grant will enable our teachers to invest resources in a number of critical areas, from equipment and facilities to new course development,” said state agricultural education leader Joshua Bledsoe. “We are extremely grateful to the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission for sharing our vision and making possible tremendous opportunities for students throughout the state.”

The North Carolina FFA, housed in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, will distribute the gift in at least 32 grants in the amount of $5,000 each. Remaining funds will be used to administer the grant. Any high school in North Carolina with an agricultural education program is eligible to apply. Award winners will be announced in spring 2012.

“We’re excited to be a partner with the FFA,” said William Upchurch, executive director of the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. “This is a great opportunity for students and teachers to feature innovative and creative projects designed to strengthen agricultural education. These students represent the future of agriculture in North Carolina.”

The North Carolina FFA is a youth organization of more than 18,600 student members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture, with nearly 250 local chapters across the state. FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Visit for more information.

The General Assembly created the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission in 2000 to help soften the financial impact to farmers and tobacco-related businesses caused by the sharp decline of tobacco in the agricultural economy. The commission’s funding comes from a state appropriation of monies paid by cigarette manufacturers under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement to the state. Since 2002, the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has awarded grants to public and nonprofit agencies that meet the goals of strengthening the tobacco-dependent and agricultural economies of North Carolina. For more information, visit

Written by:  Suzanne Stanard

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