FRANKFORT — “Your Donation, Your Community, Our Leaders.” In the months of February and March, Kentuckians across the Commonwealth will make their annual trek down to their county clerk’s office to renew farm license plates, or as members of Kentucky’s agricultural community call them “ag tags.” When farm families visit with their county clerk this year, we hope you consider making a voluntary $10 donation to the Kentucky Ag Tag Fund to invest back in our communities and in our leaders.
Ag Tag donations are equally divided among Kentucky 4-H, Kentucky FFA, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) for youth development and promotional programs. As leaders of those respective organizations, we can personally attest to how each of organization uses the dollars to promote the future of Kentucky agriculture and invest in future leaders.
At the KDA, the funds help support initiatives that promote agriculture in Kentucky, such as the Kentucky Leopold Conservation Award and the Kentucky Ag Athletes of the Year scholarship program that we conduct annually with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA). The fund also supports many commodity organizations and events, ranging from the Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program (KALP) to AgLand at the Kentucky State Fair. In recent years, the Ag Tag Fund has even assisted industry groups like Kentucky Women In Agriculture in sponsoring their annual conference.
Kentucky FFA uses the donated funds to support more than $20,000 in agriculture program grants to make a capital investment in curriculum or facilities. FFA also 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.
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.
Half of the 4-H and FFA donations are returned to local councils and chapters, meaning leaders in your community are able to use those funds to cover the cost of 4-H and FFA camp and other leadership programs. County 4-H councils use Ag Tag dollars to provide opportunities, such as 4-H camp scholarships and travel for life-changing, educational experiences, to enable local 4-H youth to grow as leaders and engaged citizens. 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.
At the end of the day, your donation goes back into your community to support statewide programs impacting 274,000 students. Last year, Kentucky motorists donated $613,000 to the program, the second highest amount in history. We challenge Kentucky farm families to make the voluntary $10 donation to invest in our community and our leaders.