FRANKFORT — In the weeks to come, many of you will head to your county clerk’s office to renew your farm vehicle license plates, or “ag tags.” When you do, I hope you will make a voluntary donation to the Ag Tag Fund for the future of Kentucky agriculture.
Proceeds from the fund are divided equally among Kentucky 4-H, Kentucky FFA, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) for youth development and promotional programs. Half of the 4-H and FFA funds go back to the county where the tag is purchased.
Among other things, the KDA uses some of its share to contribute $2,500 toward the $10,000 prize for the Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award and for six $1,000 scholarships for the KDA-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Ag Athletes of the Year.
The Kentucky 4-H Foundation uses its portion of its Ag Tag funds to support statewide programs such as engineering events, the Issues Conference, the Performing Arts Troupe, the 4-H Summit, and state officer scholarships.
Kentucky FFA provides over $20,000 in grants to agriculture programs to make a capital investment in their curriculum or facilities. It provides $1,000 to each of the 12 FFA regions to recognize students at regional FFA banquets and for travel scholarships for Kentucky FFA members who are competing at the National FFA Convention. It also supports statewide initiatives such as the Kentucky FFA website, state officer leadership development, and support for teacher educators at the university level.
County 4-H councils use the funds for local programming, paying for leadership and citizenship opportunities, funding 4-H camp scholarships, and other uses. FFA chapters are free to use the money to meet the greatest need in their community, such as FFA jackets for students in need or helping cover travel costs to leadership events.
FFA and 4-H are two of the leading youth organizations in Kentucky and in the nation. The KDA works every day to promote Kentucky agriculture and teach Kentucky’s young people about the importance of agriculture in their everyday lives. Funding from your voluntary donations helps all three organizations fulfill our mission to sustain Kentucky agriculture for generations to come.
Ag tag donations in fiscal 2017 soared to nearly $630,000, the highest amount in the history of the program and a 14 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. We are grateful to everyone who gave last year and, in a time of tight budgets and increasing need, we hope to do even better this year. I hope you will join me in making a voluntary donation to the Ag Tag Fund when you renew your farm vehicle license plates.
— Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture
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