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FFA and Gov. Little raffle a tractor

NAMPA--A tractor raffle that raises scholarship money for Idaho FFA members was held today near Nampa.

Governor Little reached in the drum and Hal Harris from Middleton won the garden tractor.

Tickets went fast and that means more scholarship money. “Almost every FFA teacher I’ve spoken with about the new program says, ‘It’s going great, can I have more tickets?’” said Idaho FFA Foundation Executive Director Marcia Jedry.

Concluding the 10th year, the raffle program has awarded $146,000 in scholarship money to 134 students from 41 of the state’s 95 FFA chapters. Another $22,000 was awarded in April to FFA students. Most of the scholarships are for $1,000 but two $2,000 scholarships are awarded each year for ag education teacher degrees to help secure more ag-ed teachers for the state and reduce the ongoing shortage of those positions nationwide. 

FFA Alumni Sid Freeman started the Tractor raffle 10 years ago. Freeman said approximately $450,000 has been donated to or raised for the tractor raffle program from businesses across Idaho in the form of banner sponsorships – used to purchase the tractors – as well as in-kind contributions and ticket sales.  He said the tractor raffle program started out as a simple way to get rid of an old tractor from his farm while raising some scholarship money for FFA members. He said it has become much bigger than he ever imagined. With the help of ag-related businesses, back in 2010 the Freemans refurbished a 1941 Farmall M and drove it around the state on a borrowed trailer to promote it. It was raffled off in April 2011. 

“The enthusiasm for the tractor raffle has gone through the roof,” Freeman said. “It’s a great fundraising mechanism for FFA students but it also has become this huge statewide awareness campaign about the benefits and success of agricultural education with the FFA component.”

With the help of Idaho FFA Alumni members and some ag education teachers, the raffle tractor will travel about 5,000 miles a year, being towed on a trailer that was donated by C&D Trailer Manufacturing of Caldwell in 2013. 

The travel promotes the tractor raffle program, and it became a visual symbol of Idaho’s FFA program.