FFA students and community members around Turkey Valley Community School District in the northeast Iowa town of Jackson Junction are stepping up to help a neighbor in need, even if that neighbor is several hours away and in a different state.

After severe flooding in Nebraska, students in the Turkey Valley FFA chapter began collecting donations of hay, fencing, farm tools and household goods to help farmers hit by flooding. The students also gathered nearly $9,000 in cash donations to be used to purchase additional supplies as needed.

“The kids really took this project on,” said Steve Pfaffle, the FFA advisor at Turkey Valley. “All I had to was tell them about the need, and they went to work.”

The young people’s enthusiasm to help farmers hit by flooding was matched by the local community around Turkey Valley schools, Pfaffle said. “Really, everybody in the community really stepped up,” he said.

The FFA chapter’s efforts were also supported by the Turkey Valley FFA alumni and its supporters group, which allowed the students to network and offer their resources, experience and professional knowledge to help them accomplish their mission, Pfaffle said.

Making a connection

With the help of some Farm Bureau connections, the students were also able to find a Nebraska farmer who could really use the help.

Nancy Franzen, a Farm Bureau Financial Services agent in West Union and a parent of the one of the Turkey Valley FFA students, used her Farm Bureau connections to help the students locate a farm in Nebraska that needed help.

Franzen contacted Nebraska agents who she had trained with and they helped her identify a farm that had been severely damaged by the severe flooding. “Farm Bureau really helps us build a network of people that can help each other out,” Franzen said.

Last weekend Pfaffle, along with several students and parents, hauled several loads of hay, along with trailers full of farm and household supplies, several hours to the west to help the Emary family near Wahoo, Nebraska.

Turkey Valley is one of several FFAs around Iowa that have stepped up to help farmers in flood areas of Nebraska and southwest Iowa.

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) has launched the Farming Community Disaster Exchange where Iowans can offer help to those impacted by the floods or to seek assistance. The online exchange can be found at www.iowafarmbureau.com/Farmer-Resources/Flood-Assistance