Blue Jacket Bonanza Goes National

Students and advisors from Santa Maria FFA with Teri Bontrager (SBCFB Executive Director) and Lee Anne Shiller from the National FFA at the National FFA Convention in Indiana

Launched in 2010, the Blue Jacket Bonanza program was developed to provide area students involved in FFA the opportunity to earn their own blue jacket. To be granted a jacket the students are required to complete an application process which entails a written essay, personal interview and community service.

Last year, Blue Jacket Bonanza was recognized by the American

Farm Bureau Federation as one of the County Activities of Excellence. After being showcased at AFBF’s annual meeting in January, the Blue Jacket Bonanza program has the attention of state Farm Bureaus nationwide.

When the National FFA Organization heard about Blue Jacket Bonanza they chose to endorse the program and help make it available to FFA members nationwide by guaranteeing local Farm Bureaus a flat rate of $55 for each qualifying student’s jacket, scarf or tie and shipping. They have also provided a 2”x3” Blue Jacket Bonanza patch that will be placed in every jacket awarded through this program.

In August of this year, Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau Executive Director, Teri Bontrager and National FFA Director of Merchandising, Customer and Fulfillment Services, Lee Anne Shiller introduced the program and the agreement with the FFA Organization at AFBF’s Staff Institute in Louisville, Kentucky.

With the program spreading like wild fire, the National FFA Organization invited Bontrager to represent Blue Jacket Bonanza at the FFA jacket sales booth in the Convention Trade Show which hosts over 60,000 FFA members and guests. While there, Bontrager promoted the program and fit FFA members from all 50 states for their coveted “blue jackets”.

This Fall marks the 3rd Anniversary of Blue Jacket Bonanza in the Santa Barbara County. The Farm Bureau office received over 80 applications from students at Carpinteria, Lompoc, Nipomo, Pioneer Valley, Righetti, Santa Maria and Santa Ynez High Schools. They will be conducting student interviews in November in hopes of awarding the students their jackets before winter break.

Blue Jacket Bonanza and the GAATE Foundation are affiliates of the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau. If you are interested in donating to the program or would like more information on the local Blue Jacket Bonanza, please contact the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau at 805-688-7479 or email them at farmsbc@hwy246.net.

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The Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau, affiliated with the California and American Farm Bureau Federations, is a membership organization whose goal is to protect and promote agriculture in Santa Barbara County. The Farm Bureau currently represents over 1,200 member families in Santa Barbara County, 75,000 in California and 6.5 million nationwide.

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