Gift of Grain: Ivy Tech, farmers partner to help ag education

Gift of Grain: Ivy Tech, farmers partner to help ag education

FARMERSBURG — Harvest time has taken on a new meaning for some Wabash Valley farmers, and Bobbi Hunt-Kincaid hopes her family’s first Gift of Grain will be the beginning of a new fundraising trend for Ivy Tech Foundation.

L.G. Hunt Farms Inc. in Farmersburg is supporting agricultural education at Ivy Tech Community College by donating a portion of its fall harvest to Ivy Tech Terre Haute’s newest program – Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology.

“It was a no-brainer, really,” Kincaid said of supporting the next generation of farming innovation.

“We’ve had to expand and grow and try new things and be more progressive with our technology,” Kincaid said of changes in farming through the years. “It’s important. Margins are narrow right now, so using the precision ag technology has really helped our bottom line.”

Precision agriculture uses technology such as a global positioning system and geographic information systems to tackle the variability in farming systems to improve productivity and profitability while reducing the impact on the environment.

An estimated 95 percent of current farm implements currently sold come equipped with GPS and GIS. Training to use the technology is available through Ivy Tech’s program.

Kincaid has a sentimental connection to Ivy Tech.

She said her mother, Mollie Hunt, took classes in bookkeeping at Ivy Tech several years ago to help better manage the finances of the family farm.

The family’s agricultural success has resulted in support of the Ivy Tech’s capital campaign to raise $2.5 million. About $180,000 remains to be raised by year’s end.

Through the Gift of Grain, farmers can seamlessly donate grain from this year’s harvest or prior years’ harvests to Ivy Tech.

After the grain is delivered to an elevator and the amount of grain is determined, an Ivy Tech donation form is filled out. The elevator will sell the grain and the proceeds will be donated to the college in support of its Precision Agriculture Equipment Technology program.

A Gift of Grain provides benefits that a standard cash donation cannot, such as reduced income taxes. Costs and expenses incurred in growing the donated crop are still claimable by the farmer.

Most recently, precision ag students harvested sweet corn field on Davis Drive for donation to area food pantries and Catholic Charities. Such experiences help prepare students for real-world agriculture careers – whether as farmers, or in related fields such as equipment sales, marketing, and consulting.

As an affordable option for students, Ivy Tech graduates can enter directly into the agriculture workforce or they may transfer to many of the college’s four-year partners for further education at significant cost savings.

“Ivy Tech students tend to stay and work in their home communities. A Gift of Grain supports Ivy Tech students, and is an investment in a strong community and the future of the agriculture industry in the Wabash Valley,” said Rachel Mullinnix, executive director of Resource Development.

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