Saline FFA member receives grant from Bob Evans Restaurants


William Rogers, a Saline FFA member and high school student. photo courtesy of Mandy Rogers

William Rogers, a sophomore at Saline High School, was one of 12 high school students picked nationwide from a pool of nearly 1,300 applications for a grant program that’s helping to support the next generation of agricultural leaders.

Rogers was part of the announcement by Bob Evans Restaurants naming the National FFA 2023 Grant Recipients.

In the announcement, Bob Evans Restaurants said it continues to pay homage to its founder and former farmer, Bob Evans, through its long-standing partnership with the National FFA Organization.

Bob Evans Restaurants said, “As part of its ongoing investment in the organization, Bob Evans will be awarding Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Grants to 12 deserving high school student FFA members. The grant program, now in its third year, signifies Bob Evans’ ongoing commitment to supporting and inspiring the next generation of agricultural leaders in our nation’s farming communities.”

Each grant recipient will receive $1,000 to help them achieve the goals they outlined for their SAE this year.

Bob Evans Restaurants said, “These experiential learning projects will help students learn more about agriculture, marketing, and running a business. The funds from Bob Evans will assist these 12 high school students with agricultural initiatives, such as building hydroponic gardens and greenhouses to produce larger crop yields, and improving an existing beehive to harvest honey for income and increasing the local bee population to pollinate nearby gardens. This year, students noted in their project applications the importance of providing healthy options, like fresh produce, to local families at an affordable price during a time of high inflation and rising grocery prices.”

The Sun Times News followed up with Rogers about this great news.

“Our teacher, Mr. Mellor encouraged all of the students to write a SAE grant,” said Rogers. “I decided to write mine on growing pumpkins. My friend, Henry and I had the idea of having a pumpkin farm this year. In order for us to accomplish this, I thought I should write a grant to help fund the project. As we work on the project we can keep track of our hours for AET (Agricultural Experience Tracker). We get credit for keeping track of our hours for FFA. All of the hours and projects we do in FFA help us work towards our State Degree and American Degree in FFA.”

The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 735,000 student members as part of 8,817 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

Rogers is part of the Saline FFA Chapter in the SWWC (Southwest Washtenaw Consortium) at Saline High School.

Looking ahead, he said he will begin using the grant funds this spring. In the summer, he said he will need to report back to National FFA and let them know how the project is progressing.

“Our goal is to have a pumpkin wagon where we can sell pumpkins this fall in the Saline community,” Rogers said.

“Inspired by our farming roots, we’re proud to support another group of young, aspiring farmers and we look forward to seeing their innovative projects come to fruition this year,” said Bob Holtcamp, President and CMO for Bob Evans Restaurants, in the announcement. “At Bob Evans, serving up ‘America’s Farm Fresh’ is the promise to our guests and by partnering with FFA to support these student projects, we are able to extend this to local communities across America in a new way.”

The Bob Evans 2023 SAE Grant recipients were selected from more than 1,296 applications nationwide:

  • Lilly Cappitte from Sunbury, Ohio
  • Brooklynn Fleming from Leeton, Missouri
  • Nathan Gallimore from Clinton, Kentucky
  • Joslyn L. Hinton from Hodgenville, Kentucky
  • Veronica Hummel from Middleburg, Pennsylvania
  • Alexandra Kinney from Lewiston, Ohio
  • Delaney Nekolny from St. Joseph, Illinois
  • Quinn Pendley from Athens, Georgia
  • Isaac Pohl from Fort Branch, Indiana
  • William Rogers from Saline, Michigan
  • Whitney Smith from Clayton, Indiana
  • Stone Stauch from Greencastle Indiana
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