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Bids for a better tomorrow

New addition to the 2017 annual meeting raises over $9,000 for Tennessee 4-H and FFA
Story by Allison Parker Photos by Chris Villines 1/1/2018


Co-op annual meeting attendees participated in a silent auction benefiting Tennessee 4-H and FFA Foundations by bidding on 35 items including a drone, a 64-gun safe, tickets to sporting events and shows, nights at inns across the state, and much more.
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Each year at the Tennessee Farmers Cooperative annual meeting, more than 500 agriculturists gather to make a better tomorrow for the Co-op system. This year for the first time attendees were able to place bids to help build a brighter future for thousands of 4-Hers and FFA members.

During the TFC Showcase on Nov. 26 and the following morning at the 73rd TFC annual meeting, member Co-op directors and their families bid on silent and live auction items at the “Co-op Auction Barn” to raise $9,015 to be evenly divided between Tennessee’s 4-H and FFA foundations.

Attendees participated by bidding on 35 items including a drone, Orca coolers, a 64-gun safe, tickets to sporting events and shows, nights at inns across the state, and much more. Over half of the items sold were donated by small businesses, many of which were featured in past issues of The Cooperator.

One of the most anticipated additions to the Sunday afternoon showcase was the live auction portion of the

Co-op Auction Barn. John Houston, TFC Feed and Animal Health sales manager, served as auctioneer for the event. Before the bidding began Julia Knaggs, State FFA president, and Sorrell Martin, State 4-H Congress governor, both thanked the attendees for their support of the auction and shared the impact that these donations would have on their club members.

Houston then reigned over a flurry of shouts, nods, and one-ups during the live auction. Items sold included a Michael Kors purse, a two-night stay in a cozy cabin on Lone Oaks Farm, an iPad Air 2, a tobacco stick Adirondack chair made by Orlinda Furniture Company, a framed Tennessee 4-H print from the Tennessee 4-H Foundation, and the three prints included in the FFA “Wildlife Series” from the Tennessee FFA Foundation. In just under an hour, the crowd of member Co-op directors and TFC staff raised $2,125 for the youth development organizations.

“We are so thankful for Tennessee Farmers Co-op and its members,” said Tennessee 4-H Foundation Executive Director Ryan Hensley. “The funds from the auction will allow us to provide more youth with life-changing educational opportunities.”

Tennessee 4-H has touched the lives of more than four million young people in the state since its beginning nearly 100 years ago. Today, 4-H is a unique educational program for school-age boys and girls to participate in clubs, special interest groups, after-school programs, and camps. The hands-on activities and community involvement empower the students by strengthening life skills and preparing them for the future.

Since 1928, FFA has been an integral part of the agricultural education program in Tennessee and now is one of the largest youth development organizations offered through the public school system. FFA prides itself on providing leadership opportunities, developing, and evaluating students’ agricultural skills. Tennessee FFA has 14,084 members, 322 advisors, and 216 chapters, including seven collegiate chapters in 2017.

“The silent auction was such a neat addition to the great support we receive from Tennessee Farmers Cooperative,” said Kelsey Rose, the executive director of the

Tennessee FFA Foundation. “The auction created a fun environment that provided FFA state officers and foundation staff an opportunity to mingle with industry leaders while garnering support for our organization.”

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