FRANKFORT -- The Kentucky Department of Agriculture presented ceremonial checks for $184,237.61 each to the Kentucky 4-H Foundation and the Kentucky FFA Foundation in August as their shares of proceeds from voluntary "ag tag" donations in the 2016 fiscal year.
"These donations are divided equally among Kentucky 4-H, Kentucky FFA, and Kentucky Proud and other KDA promotional programs," Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. "These funds will help cultivate the next generation of farmers and citizens. We're grateful to everyone who gave to the 'ag tag' program."
"The more than 250,000 members of 4-H from around the state will benefit from the efforts of Commissioner Quarles, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and each and every volunteer, state officer, county official, and those who purchased the Ag Tags," said McRae Stephenson, executive director of the Kentucky 4-H Foundation. "As our members travel the highways and byways of Kentucky, they'll have a constant reminder that Commissioner Quarles, the KDA, and drivers from around the state proudly stand in support of 4-H."
"The partnership between KDA, FFA, 4-H, and local communities has made a lasting impact in our state," said Sheldon McKinney, executive director of the Kentucky FFA Foundation. "Five years into this program, it keeps growing, and that's because of the true partnership it is, in addition to the transparent and obvious difference it's making in communities across the Commonwealth."
Voluntary donations in fiscal 2016 totaled $552,712.84, an increase of $12,355.69, or 2.3 percent, over fiscal 2015. The program has raised about $2.4 million since 2012.
Motorists who buy or renew farm vehicle license plates (or "ag tags") may make a voluntary donation of up to $10 to the Ag Tag Fund. Half of the 4-H and FFA funds go back to the county where the tag is purchased.
County 4-H councils use the "Ag Tag" funds for local programming, paying for leadership and citizenship opportunities, funding 4-H camp scholarships, and other purposes. The Kentucky 4-H Foundation uses its portion 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 awards grants to chapters to make investments in their curriculum and facilities; awards travel scholarships to students competing at the National FFA Convention; and appropriates funding for a variety of other needs.