Cali Newdigger, Skyline Pratt high school student, is excited about promoting Kansas agriculture through a class project.
Sometimes, taking a good idea and running with it can take a person places they never expected to go.
The Skyline FFA had planned to send four boxes willed with information about Kansas agriculture to other FFA chapters in four other states. Skyline FFA member Cali Newdigger liked the idea so much, she asked permission to take on the project herself and expand it, a lot.
Instead of four states, Newdigger decided to expand the box program to FFA chapters in all 50 states along with Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
"I wanted to do this by myself. I wanted 50 schools in 50 states. It's kind of a class project that turned into something extra," Newdigger said.
Each FFA member is required to complete a Supervised Agriculture Experience project and the Kansas agriculture exchange boxes will fulfill that requirement, Newdigger said.
The purpose of the boxes is inform other FFA chapters about agriculture in Kansas. In turn, each of those chapters will be sending boxes with information about their state to Newdigger. In the Kansas box, Newdigger included data sheets, a flash drive (with the project logo on the outside) with Kansas information, Kansas corn and wheat information, pictures of Kansas commodities, pamphlets from the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Kansas Department of Transportation, a children's ag adventure book, a t-shirt she designed her self, The Pratt Tribune's Discover magazine for south central Kansas and other items related to Kansas.
Newdigger even has a book about her life growing up on the farm and how agriculture as impacted her.
"There's a lot of items in the box," Newdigger said.
Each box is the same size and costs $7 to mail. With 52 boxes to mail, it's going to cost $364 for postage for the project. To help cover the cost, Newdigger has started an adopt a box program where donors can pay for a box and choose which state gets the box. Donors would get updates on their box along with video of Newdigger mailing their box and receiving a box from the state where the box was sent. To become a donor in the project, contact Skyline school at (620) 672-5651 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. She applied for a grant for the project but did not get it.
Newdigger started on this project in April 2019. She sent out seven boxes before Christmas and has received four boxes from other states. She wants to send out an additional 10 boxes by the end of January. The response has boosted Newdigger's interest in the program.
"I'm super excited. It's one way to share my excitement about agriculture," Newdigger said.
Newdigger is especially excited about sending boxes to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands so she can learn about agriculture in those countries.
This project has been especially valuable for Newdigger. She plans on being a graphic designer and she got to design some of the items, including the t-shirts, that go into each box.
"Overall, its really a good life skill program," Newdigger said.
The Skyline FFA is open to freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. They have 48 members and each is required to have an Supervised Agriculture Experience project. The students can select anything related to agriculture that interests them.
The FFA also takes part in many community service projects including Nebraska storm relief, working with shut-ins in Macksville and presenting them with cookies, May Day flowers, Valentine flowers, Christmas ornaments to let them know that someone still cares about them.