POCATELLO, Idaho — Three years ago, Caldwell farmer Sid Freeman wondered what to do with an old tractor left idle on his farm.
His solution — fixing it up as a raffle prize — has resulted in an annual tradition that’s raised a combined $98,000 for FFA, including $51,000 for FFA youth scholarships.
Since his first raffle, Freeman has found other Idaho farmers willing to donate their antique tractors for the cause. He’s done the tuneups and mechanical upgrades in his own shop, and a friend helps with sandblasting and painting each donated tractor.
On Jan. 21, Freeman, who is president-elect of the Idaho FFA Alumni Association, parked this year’s grand prize at the 35th Annual Ag Expo at Holt Arena on the Idaho State University campus. He’s set a goal of selling 5,000 raffle tickets for $10 each.
He said area agribusinesses have supported the fundraiser. G & R Ag Products in Caldwell has donated weed sprayers to fit on the tractor each year. Second prize in this year’s raffle is a Traeger grill, and third prize is a $250 Carhartt gift certificate.
In addition to attending agricultural events, Freeman has had success with selling raffle tickets at general community events. In fact, he said several people have learned about FFA through the raffle and gotten their children or grandchildren involved.
Freeman emphasizes that children involved in FFA are statistically more likely to complete post-secondary education and “rise to the top as leaders in their communities.”
To buy raffle tickets, call (208) 941-3584.