Local FFA member receives $1,000 grant from Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative...

posted Jan 18, 2017, 5:22 AM by Christy Roberts   [ updated Jan 18, 2017, 5:23 AM ]

Robin Smith (Director of TRACTOR Food and Farms), Nicole Robinson (FFA Adviser and Agriculture Teacher at MHHS) and Drew Smoker (grant recipient) meet to discuss her new agribusiness Jack's Creek Henterprises.

A $1,000 grant has been awarded to FFA member Drew Smoker of Burnsville, NC by Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative. The grant requires students to utilize organic methods in their SAEs. Using GMO (genetically modified organisms) is not allowed in Certified Organic Production. The SAE Grant is designed to help FFA members create and enhance their supervised agricultural experience (SAE), a requirement that all Agriculture Education students, and many FFA students complete. An SAE requires members to create and operate an agriculture related business, work at an agriculture-related business or conduct an agricultural research experience. Upon completion, members must submit a comprehensive report regarding their supervised agricultural experience (SAE).


Drew Smoker is a member of the Mountain Heritage FFA Chapter in Burnsville, NC, and was selected from hundreds of applicants nationwide. "Drew is my first student to get one of these grants," said Nicole Robinson, FFA Adviser at Mountain Heritage. "I'm really excited for her."


"I'm thankful so many people are helping me out," Drew said. Michael Blevins of Blevins Farms is helping hatch chicks and she has already had a meeting about starting an agribusiness with Robin Smith from TRACTOR Food and Farms. Drew will be joining TRACTOR ( to provide eggs as a part of a pilot CSA program developed by NC State students in coordination with Blue Ridge Regional Hospital. 


Funds will be used to expand her flock and separate out a portion of them to be all-organic. If all goes according to plan, Jack's Creek Henterprises will be in full laying production by summer.