CASSTOWN — Miami East High School FFA members Nathan Teeters and Hunter Sharp have been busy herding cows around the county — all for a great cause.
Since November, the Miami East High School FFA senior members have been moving six plywood cattle silhouettes from home-to-home as part of their FFA chapter’s unique fundraiser for Heifer International: Greener Pastures Program.
After the cows show up to graze a local home for a day or two, the FFA will gladly round up the cows for a donation. For a $20 donation, the FFA will remove the cows. For a $30 donation, the FFA will remove the cows and take them to the next home of your choice. For $40, the FFA will move the cows, take them to the next home of your choice and provide insurance they’ll never return and for $50, you can have it all.
For the last several months, the chapter has been parading their cows around the county, collecting more than $1,120 exceeding the chapter’s goal of $1,000. Through Heifer International, the funds will purchase two heifers for $500 a piece for an impoverished family in a third world country.
Miami East High School senior Nathan Tetters shared how he came up with the idea as unique way to support Heifer International after learning about the organization during his freshmen year in FFA. Through donations, Heifer International provides cows, goats, chickens and even honey bees as agricultural investment projects for impoverished countries.
“You buy a coop full a chickens and that provides food with the eggs and you can sell the eggs. It gives them more of an opportunity not just to get hand outs, but to grow. It’s more of an investment for families,” Teeters shared.
While Teeters fields the cattle calls, Miami East High School senior Hunter Sharp heads out to move the cattle on to the next home.
“It’s always fun to see the people’s faces. I’ve been out there and people come out to see me because they see a couple of high schoolers putting in these cows with stakes in their yard for a little prank,” Sharp said. “When I tell them about it, it’s always fun to see their faces light up. We tell them what their funds go to and how it’s really helping out the people over in (third world countries).”
The wooden cattle have traveled all over the district to 22 homes. The fundraiser will be wrap up in mid-March.
“It was really fun how one time we got into a subdivision in Troy. It just seemed like it was neighbor-to-neighbor-to-neighbor. It just moved on down the row of houses,” said Teeters with a laugh. “They got a kick out of it, waking up and seeing cows. I had one family share that their boys thought it was the coolest thing that they woke up one morning and suddenly they had cows in their yard.”
According to Heifer International’s website, the organization links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. The animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market.The goal of every Heifer International project is to help families achieve self-reliance.
Miami East High School and Miami Valley CTC agriculture teacher and FFA adviser Marie Carity said the teens took the fundraiser and ran with it, making it a huge success for its first year.
“We’ve exceeded our goal to buy two heifers, which is amazing. That heifer will have another heifer that will go to another village,” Carity said. “It’s that teach a man to fish concept. We’re over our goal and we are still going to see how much we can do. The community adores it. We get the best phone calls and emails. ‘Hey there’s this wandering group of cows in my yard, here’s my money — we love it.’”
At the end of the project, Carity said the FFA chapter will count how many miles their cattle traveled to raise the funds for the organization.
“They bounce from road to road and (Teeters and Sharp) made that happen,” Carity said. “Nathan fields all the calls and Hunter is ready to go pick them up and move them on to the next place.”
For more information about Heifer International, visit www.heifer.org and for more information about the Miami East chapter of FFA, visit www.miamieast.k12.oh.us.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews