FFA members donated more than 4,000 canned and non-perishable food items on Friday, February 24, at the 2012 Western Farm Show in the inaugural FFA Canned Food Border War. 

In recognition of National FFA Week and FFA Day at the Western Farm Show, FFA members from Missouri and Kansas were challenged to bring canned and nonperishable food items for Harvesters—The Community Food Network. Harvesters distributes food through more than 620 not-for-profit agencies in 26 counties in the bi-state region.

“It’s no secret there is a great rivalry between Missouri and Kansas, so why not motivate chapters from both states to compete for a great cause?” asked Cory Hayes, director of education for the SouthWestern Assn. (SWA), the dealer group, which owns and has produced the Western Farm Show for 51 years.

Kansas FFA Foundation Director Kerry Wefald and Missouri FFA executive secretary Keith Dietzschold rallied students in their states to compete for their chance to claim victory over the other by bringing the most items to the show.  Missouri FFA was the winner, bringing more than 2,900 items to the Show.  The Western Farm Show also challenged individual FFA chapters by offering a $500 cash prize to the chapter that brought the most items.  The Lone Jack (Missouri) High School FFA Chapter is the proud winner of the Chapter-Challenge with their donation of 1,310 items.

The Missouri FFA and the Lone Jack High School Chapter will both be recognized by the Western Farm Show at the Missouri State FFA convention in Columbia, Mo. on April 19, 2012.

“We see this as an annual service project for FFA students and hope that FFA members attending the 2013 Western Farm Show will continue to get involved and show even more support.  I’m convinced that Kansas Chapters will likely be eager to claim victory next year,” says Ken Dean, Western Farm Show manager.

Each year the Western Farm Show provides tickets to FFA Chapters throughout Kansas and Missouri to attend FFA Day at the Show.  “The farm show is a great venue and this is a wonderful opportunity for youth in agriculture to learn what is happening in our industry,” says Hayes. “We are focused on keeping young people engaged in agriculture and annually host seminars on career and educational opportunities.  FFA state leadership is also invited and provides updates about current FFA programs and projects.”

This year’s FFA Day brought over 3,000 members to the Kansas City-based farm show. “The idea to create a service project that is food-related and benefits hunger awareness seemed like a great way to honor the 2012 National FFA Week,” says Dean.

The Western Farm Show annually attracts more than 500 exhibitors and occupies the entire American Royal Complex. The Show, which is owned and operated by the SouthWestern Association, features more than 400,000 square feet of floor space, filled with the latest in everything for agriculture from tractors to livestock equipment, feed, seed and more. The 2012 Show included NCBA Livestock Demonstrations on Friday, while the Family Living Center and Health-and-Safety Roundup Area provided information for the whole family.

About the SouthWestern Association:

Founded in 1889, the SouthWestern Association represents nearly 1,800 farm, construction, industrial and outdoor power equipment dealers, as well as 2,400 hardware retailers. Led by CEO Jeffrey H. Flora, CAE, the association spans eight states –Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The largest regional trade association of its kind in North America, the SouthWestern Association offers members a comprehensive array of dealer-oriented legislative, educational and communications services, ranging from lobbying to legal, accounting and marketing support. Visit www.swassn.com for more information.