The Plano School Board voted Dec. 18 to extend the district’s partnership with the Kendall County Farm Bureau Young Leaders program for another year, citing the success of the unique partnership since it began three years ago.
The board voted unanimously to approve a new agreement with the Kendall County Farm Bureau Foundation for a term from Feb. 1, 2018, to Jan. 31, 2019.
The partnership allows the bureau to farm a 13-acre field west of the high school and to use profits from sale of the crops for three things: an agriculture in the classroom program, donations to charitable organizations and enriching district students’ learning at all grade levels, according to school district officials.
The crops are planted, cultivated and harvested by the Kendall County Farm Bureau Young Leaders.
“The district and Young Leaders representatives will meet to prepare a list of organizations to receive the donations this year,” Superintendent Dr. Hector Garcia told board members.
Recipients in the past have included the Kendall County Food Pantry and the Rockin’ Christmas program to help fill food baskets for needy families and seniors in Plano; the Farm Bureau for its Ag in the Classroom program, which teaches agriculture, farming and related topics to children in elementary school throughout the county; and the Plano High School for a newly-formed science club.
In his report to board members, Garcia said he met recently with Kurt Schobert and Dan Reedy from the farm bureau to discuss this year’s corn crops. Schobert is a Kendall County farmer and volunteer from the Kendall County Farm Bureau Foundation.
Other volunteers have included CHS Elburn Coop, Grainco FS, Agtech, Thorson Farms, and Brummel Farms.
Garcia said they yielded 2,282 bushels of corn that was sold for $5,759.
Last year, they raised soybeans, which were sold for $6,445.
“The small field has contributed to the greater understanding of the various agricultural opportunities available to students and directly helping some of Plano’s most vulnerable families,” Garcia said. “Without the donated equipment and manpower, the school district may have realized only about $200 profit.”
In past years, the district made next to nothing – a farmer would plant the field, and pay the district a portion of his profit, Garcia said. The district was then required to pay taxes on the profit, leaving it with little left.
Board President Tim Campbell agreed and said there was really no financial benefit to the community or school because they were paying it all back in taxes.
“Both parties have been very pleased with the relationship and look forward to future options for the land and activities to benefit our students,” Garcia said.
Garcia noted that he had a chance to drive the combine last year, and said the farmers often allow him to drive their tractors and combines around the field.
“I enjoy doing this. Hopefully they’ll let me do it in the spring because I missed doing it this fall,” he said.