MDA Secretary Presents Funds to So. Md. FFA Chapters

ANNAPOLIS – Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance on Dec. 17 presented five $500 checks to Southern Maryland FFA Chapters for leadership and chapter development activities during the 2014/2015 school year.

“We are happy to see these funds go towards helping the next generation of farmers gain additional experience in leadership development and agricultural education,” said Secretary Hance.

The following FFA representatives attended the check presentation event at Maryland Department of Agriculture headquarters in Annapolis: Maryland FFA State President Jenell Eck, Maryland FFA Foundation Chairman Bill Schrodel, and Maryland FFA Executive Director Terrie Shank. Each chapter received a $500 check, accepted by the following individuals on its behalf:

-- Southern High School (Anne Arundel County): Chapter President Jesslyn Perez and FFA Advisor Bridget Hoffman

-- Calvert High School (Calvert County): Chapter President Audrey Evans and FFA Advisor Charles Gustin

-- Robert D. Stethem Educational Center (Charles County): Maryland FFA State President Jenell Eck, Maryland FFA Foundation Chairman Bill Schrodel

-- Gwynn Park High School (Prince George's County): Chapter Members Isaiah Nance, Pamelia George, and FFA Advisor Leasa Gudderra

-- Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center (St. Mary’s County): Chapter President Phillip Hogan, and FFA Advisor Ed Carney

The grants were paid with the remaining funds following the National Tobacco Growers' Settlement Trust (Phase II) final disbursement. Secretary Hance requested the extra funds be distributed to the FFA chapters in Southern Maryland, where tobacco was traditionally grown.

The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 610,240 student members as part of 7,665 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at, on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.

The National Tobacco Growers Settlement Trust was an offshoot of the Master Settlement Agreement signed in November 1998 to settle claims brought by a majority of the states against certain tobacco manufacturers, to recover health care costs associated with tobacco use. As a result, tobacco manufacturers agreed to pay $5.15 billion to the Trust over a 12-year period, with the first installment of $380 million being paid in 1999 to tobacco landowners, producers, and tobacco quota owners in 14 states.

Source: Maryland Dept. of Agriculture

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