What do you get when you prepare the soil with a vision, plant it with the seed of hard work, and water it with some grants? You get a much needed tractor for the Tucker County High School Agriculture Department.
TCHS is slated to take delivery of the 2014 John Deere 4120, 4 wheel drive, compact diesel with loader, tractor this week. The tractor has been in for about a month but due to weather issues will finally be on site soon.
Funding for the tractor came in the form of several different grants:
Farm to School Grant- by the Office of Child Nutrition,
Program Modernization Grant- by the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Career and Technical Instruction,
Educational Incentive Grant- by John Deere.
TCHS is also proud of the fact that through the hard work of the greenhouse program over the past four years it was able to contribute almost $10,000 of the needed funds. This is widely due to the community-at-large support in purchasing of products raised in the greenhouse. Future purchases in the greenhouse will go toward other worthwhile projects.
Before the purchase of the tractor the school has had to rely on the kindness of others by borrowing tractors from local farmers and places like Moore’s Farm Service and Schrocks Equipment in Oakland.
Now the school can be proud of its very own brand new equipment. The tractor will be used for both practical and instructional purposes. It will work in the high-tunnel and on-site garden for cultivation, and provide operational experience for students. It will also be used to teach parts I.D., maintenance, safety, will be used in the Ag. mechanic shop, and to prepare for FFA competitions.
In a state (West Virginia) that consumes 7.1 Billion dollars of food a year but produces only 1% of that in-state, the tractor will be used for something exciting.
Students that want to grow edible crops (ie.. vegetable gardens) but don’t have the where-with-all to till the plot will be able to use the tractor at their location to work the land. They can then either start their own plants or receive started plants from the school’s greenhouse, which then in turn they will sell either at a Taste of Tucker Farmers Market location or to the Farm to School Program.
Not only will the students learn care and handling of their produce but also entrepreneurial skills such as labeling, pricing, and how to make change.
Now that they have the tractor on the way, the high school is actively pursuing grant opportunities for a truck and/or trailer to help haul the tractor and perform other tasks. Proof again, that Tucker County schools are growing opportunities for our young people and the community that supports them.
For more information on the program or how you might be able to help, contact: JR Helmick at the Tucker County High School, 304-478-2651.