First Southern National Bank Donates $25K to the Kentucky FFA Foundation

Published 6:12 am Wednesday, February 9, 2022

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Kentucky FFA members in 11 counties now have even more opportunities to receive a grant to help with their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project, thanks to a donation by First Southern National Bank.

First Southern made a $25,000 gift to the Kentucky FFA Foundation, directed to $500 SAE grants for FFA members in any county with a First Southern location.

West Jessamine High School sophomore Landon Hack received one of the $500 SAE Grants.

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“Receiving this grant means a lot to me, this $500 will help me greatly in creating the future of my business, Hack Family Hogs,” he said. “The money will go towards equipment for having more pigs to raise for fresh meat sold locally!”

SAE’s are independent student projects supervised by agriculture teachers. They are often entrepreneurial, like starting a beef cattle herd, a lawn-mowing service, or another small business. SAE’s teach agriculture students money management, record keeping, and many other skills it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

Agriculture teacher & FFA Advisor Jessamine Career & Technology Center Ali Myers said Hack established Hack Family Hogs in 2020. Hack is highly involved in the Jessamine County FFA, serving as the 2021-2022 Chapter Sentinel. He participates in the many leadership events, community service activities & social activities of the chapter.

“The primary goal of his business is to produce quality pigs for local 4H/FFA members to exhibit during the show season,” she said. “The secondary goal is to provide locally grown pork for the Jessamine County community. Landon has used the grant funds to build a new swine barn, purchase breeding sows & invest in marketing tools for his business.

These lessons align well with First Southern’s goal of helping lay the foundation for future business leaders in their communities.

“FFA is an organization that many of us inside our banks feel had an impact on our lives,” said Jimmy Rousey, the CEO of First Southern National Bank. “Impromptu speaking, evaluating properties, learning how to manage a project financially – the things we learned, we’re still using today. FFA is one of the best investments we can make in our future leaders.”

“As an entrepreneur-driven business, we want to support the next generation of leaders that will shape our community. We know there will be great results from our investment in these students,” said First Southern Community President Sam Lee.

The first of these SAE grants were awarded this fall, with students receiving funds to help with projects ranging from raising hogs, to harvesting maple syrup, to starting a welding business.

“Our members who apply for these grants are so deserving of support,” said Sheldon McKinney, the executive director of the Kentucky FFA Foundation. “They have a vision and are already working hard to see it through. This is not only a tremendous help financially, but it’s a way to let them know what they’re doing is important in their communities and that their communities want to see them succeed. We are so grateful to First Southern National Bank for this donation. They are strengthening their communities by investing in the young people who live there and will be leaders in just a few years.”

The Kentucky FFA Foundation cultivates partnerships that support the FFA vision to grow leaders, build communities, and strengthen agriculture. Kentucky FFA Foundation initiatives impact more than 15,700 FFA members in 158 FFA chapters across Kentucky.