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Iowa FFA celebrates new Enrichment Center

By Staff | Apr 23, 2010

Located near Ankeny’s new Prairie Trail community on the campus of Des Moines Area Community College the 60,000-square-foot FFA Enrichment Center is designed to help future generations of Iowans prepare for rewarding careers in agriculture.

Ankeny-Thomas Edison noted that success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration, and FFA supporters say this has certainly been the case with the new FFA Enrichment Center, which celebrated its ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on April 17.

“The vision for this facility started 20 years ago as a goal to benefit Iowa’s most valuable asset-our youth,” said Angela Fredericks, a former state FFA officer who serves as director of the FFA Enrichment Center. “Now the dream has finally become a reality.”

Located near Ankeny’s new Prairie Trail community on the campus of Des Moines Area Community College, the 60,000-square-foot center is designed to help future generations of Iowans prepare for rewarding careers in agriculture.

During the open house more than 400 FFA members and guests toured the $13 million facility, which boasts a spacious exhibition hall that can accommodate trade shows, six breakout rooms, a biotechnology laboratory, a state-of-the art communications center and new computer labs.

These facilities will provide hands-on learning activities that promote leadership development, personal growth and career success for more than 12,000 Iowa FFA members and DMACC students enrolled in the Veterinary Technologies and Agribusiness programs.

As the newest conference center in central Iowa, the building also features a large conference room that can seat more than 500 people and can be split into two rooms, as needed.

The FFA Enrichment Center already hosted a major conference for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Justice in March.

“This facility is a national treasure that will allow Iowa and the FFA to lead out loud,” said Rob Denson, an Iowa native former FFA chapter president who serves as president and CEO of DMACC.

“It will also allow DMACC to help students get a better education, go on to higher education or return to the farm, and continue to do well.”

Leaders envision the possibilities

The FFA Enrichment Center is the result of a vision and hard work from many FFA Foundation leaders, FFA chapters across Iowa, agribusinesses and other industry sponsors, Ankeny city leaders and DMACC officials who are dedicated to Iowa youth and agriculture.

A number of “high five” FFA chapters across the state raised a minimum of $5,000 to help finance the new facility. In addition, six organizations and individuals were honored as Crystal Donors for contributing $1 million or more, including Stine Seed Company, Dennis and Susan Albaugh, of Ankeny, the City of Ankeny, DMACC, Monsanto and the Iowa Farm Bureau.

“Welcome to your new home,” said Dennis Albaugh, an Ankeny native and 1970 graduate of DMACC’s agribusiness program. He is president of Albaugh, Inc., the largest wholly-owned, independent formulator/packager of crop protection products in the industry. “I’m so proud of this facility.”

“Ankeny is pleased to have the FFA Enrichment Center in the community, which claims a unique agricultural heritage, said Mayor Steve Van Oort. “Sixty years ago, this area was transitioning from an ordinance plant that made millions of bullets during World War II to a research farm for Iowa State.

“When you look at the roots that in these soils, it’s appropriate that this facility was built here.”

FFA members said they are excited to get to work in the new Enrichment Center.

“It’s great that there have been so many people willing to invest in Iowa’s youth and this conference facility,” said Ryan Augustine, the 2009-2010 Iowa FFA president. “This is a great contribution to our state and all our FFA members, and the potential here is outstanding.”

The Enrichment Center marks a major step forward for the Iowa FFA, which has helped generations of young people pursue successful careers and make a lifetime of informed choices related to global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources, said Wayne Nattress, executive director of the Iowa FFA Foundation.

“We’re excited about the opportunities here,” Nattress said, “because the FFA Enrichment Center will make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of young people.”

Steve Dakin, vice president of the Iowa FFA Foundation, who owns Dakin-Ag Equipment in Boone, has seen first-hand the positive difference the FFA had made in the lives of Iowans.

“There is so much potential here in this building that we can’t begin to imagine it all,” Dakin said. “When I see all of these blue FFA jackets out here, I know my future is in good hands.”

You can contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby by e-mail at yettergirl@yahoo.com.

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