TCTC ‘Future Farmers’ Get Donation from Darling Ingredients

WARREN, Ohio — A donation to the Future Farmers of America program at Trumbull Career & Technical Center will benefit career development, leadership and involvement for students.

Darling Ingredients Cleveland division donated $500 to the Future Farmers program during a check presentation Thursday. It also donated two FFA jackets, which can only be worn by students who become a officers of the organization, a green-hand and are chapter-degree certified.

“This is big,” said Cathy Billock, veterinary science instructor and FFA adviser at TCTC. “This means they know and understand agriculture.”

Speaking to more than 50 students in attendance of the meeting, Alexandria Hoff, president of TCTC FFA, said the group was “honored to be a recipient of” Darling’s “generosity with the donation” of the jackets. 

The TCTC Future Farmers of America program received two FFA jackets from Darling Ingredients.

There are 150 students in the TCTC FFA chapter, Billock said. Program instructors include Lisa Street in equestrian science, Howard Fraley leads power equipment mechanics, and Dan Sterling is with landscape and design. 

Darling is active in the FFA both nationally and locally, said Brian Conaway, general manager for the area. “It’s a good opportunity for us to meet, who will be coming into our programs” in the coming years, he said.

“This was an opportunity for us to give back to the community,” Conaway said. To encourage students enter the agriculture industry, Darling engages with schools and company employees are active around the country to show people what Darling does, he said. “We’re on the backside of agriculture.” 

Darling is one of the largest recycling companies in the world, bringing agriculture full circle, said Josh Otto, assistant general manager. “We go farm to food then back to farm.”

Darling takes leftover material that can’t be used and makes feed for other livestock, as well as other products. For example, the company uses some animal product to make soaps and produces gelatin that’s used to make gummi bears. In Europe, the company uses white blood cells pulled from blood of animal remains, which are used in other products, Conaway said. 

Darling’s outreach efforts are important in promoting agriculture for the students, Billock said. It helps students promote the program, whether through farm equipment, studying growth patterns or working with animals. The TCTC FFA also participates in the Trumbull County Fair and local parades.

“We participate in activities outside of school wearing the jacket,” Billock said. 

There’s a nostalgic feel at times when people see current students out in the community. During a Halloween parade in Champion, adults saw the blue jackets and exclaimed how they participated in FFA while they were in school, Billock said.

Much like keeping traditions going, Darling wants to help ensure creativity is continued to benefit both animals and people.

“We keep the opportunity for young people to see what needs to be done, to make it greener and make it a safer place,” Conaway said.

“We want them to keep innovating, reuse animal products,” Otto said.

In 2021, Darling Industries donated more than $200,000 toward scholarships and grants to members of the National FFA Association.

Pictured at top: On hand for the check presentation were Trumbull Career & Technical Center Future Farmers of America students Zachary Reeves, secretary; Kaylin Donley, treasurer; Alexandria Hoff, president; Madison Powell, vice president; Josh Otto, assistant general manager of Darling Ingredients; Brian Conaway, general manager of Darling Ingredients; and TCTC students Zachary Zimbardi and Max SeSalvo, FFA sentinels.

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