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McConnell family picks local club for grow communities donation

McConnell family picks local club for grow communities donation

Posted: Friday, March 23, 2012 5:00 pm

Members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee-Union City are going to plant a garden and oversee the growth of the plants there this year, according to club director Tracy Boucher. That effort is just one the club plans to use to introduce members to agriculture, which is a major force in this area of northwest Tennessee.
Those efforts, and other club programs, received a boost this week when Obion County farmer and CPA Johnny McConnell, who grew up in an agriculturally-focused family and who continues those efforts with his adult sons, John and Ty, decided to donate $2,500 in funds from Monsanto to the club.
“America’s Farmers Grow Communities” is a program funded by Monsanto in 1,245 counties in 39 states, including Tennessee. The effort re-invests $3.1 million in rural America.
Almost 60,000 farmers across the nation are participating in the program this year, with a winning farmer selected from each eligible county to receive the funds and then to choose a local nonprofit program to benefit from the pass-along gift. The McConnells decided to benefit the local club, which opened in 2004, after wife and mother Nancy McConnell, who frequently works as a substitute teacher in the Union City School System, noticed the enthusiasm school children displayed for the club.
Ty Parker, the territory sales manager for Asgrow DEKALB, joined Johnny McConnell at the club this week to present the funds to Ms. Boucher and board member Clint Joiner.
“This generous gift could not have come at a better time,” Joiner said. “We are very close to selecting a new chief professional officer for the organization and this is a wonderful way to welcome that person to our community. It shows those associated with the club that the community is supportive of our young people and wants to offer them every opportunity. And it gives our club members a new focus — one children who grow up in city neighborhoods sometimes don’t receive, even though they are surrounded by some of the most productive agricultural territory in the nation. Because of farmers like the McConnell family and companies like Monsanto, many doors can be opened for our children.”
In announcing the generous gift, Ms. Boucher told club members they will also be able to take part in planting, tending and harvesting a club garden this year. In addition, there are plans to give club members more opportunities to visit area farms and see them in operation first-hand.
“The purpose of this program is to recognize the vital role America’s farmers play and to help them grow their communities by supporting a local organization that is important to them,” Parker noted. “Some of the other selected organizations have been youth ag groups, such as FFA and 4-H, plus fire departments, local schools and other civic groups. Monsanto is delighted to have been able to make this presentation and we applaud the McConnell family choice.”
“My family is very proud to be part of this effort and we appreciate being selected. We know the Boys & Girls Club will use these funds for a good purpose,” said McConnell, who was chosen at random from Obion County farmers.
The Monsanto program, which is in its second year, has a winning farmer in each county.
“Many people are familiar with Roundup®, Asgrow® and DEKALB®, but the Monsanto name itself is not as well known. This program is one way the company cam impact local communities and allow the families in those communities to get to know us,” Parker said.
 Monsanto is devoted to selling seeds, traits developed through biotechnology and crop protection chemicals.

Published in The Messenger 3.23.12

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