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    Jackson Purchase ACA donates funds to support A.C.R.E.S. Campaign

    Jackson Purchase ACA donates funds to support A.C.R.E.S. Campaign

    Jackson Purchase ACA recently donated $25,000 to the Agriculture Campaign for Research and Education of Students (A.C.R.E.S.), the single largest campaign in the MSU School of Agriculture’s history.

    Jackson Purchase ACA is a part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, providing financing for agriculture and rural living since 1917 and has more than $250 million in loans outstanding to more than 2,000 members.

    Stan Brunston, chief executive officer of Jackson Purchase ACA, said his company made the decision to donate to Murray State’s A.C.R.E.S. campaign because they want to assist the School of Agriculture in their efforts to give college students more hands-on experience on the farm.

    “The A.C.R.E.S. campaign further enhances Murray State’s ability to train and teach students who we hope to eventually market to,” Brunston said. “Agriculture has changed substantially over the years and has left less room for small farmers. By donating this money, we hope to give everyone who wants to get into agriculture at Murray State the opportunity to learn by doing.”

    A.C.R.E.S. is the campaign that was designed to raise $1.5 million toward the acquiring of 150-250 acres of land and the equipment, buildings, fences, advanced technologies and other farm improvements needed to develop a first rate research and laboratory farm.

    Will Ed Clark, alumnus of Murray State University, graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Science and Speech Communication. Clark serves on the A.C.R.E.S. campaign to help the School of Agriculture explore donation opportunities.

    Clark said Jackson Purchase ACA’s major donation to the University is so important to the campaign because it is one of the first gifts given from someone in the local area.

    “Jackson Purchase ACA’s gift was one of the first major corporate donations from anyone here in the area and when I went and talked to them, Mr. Brunston was very interested in doing this,” Clark said. “The opportunity to work with Jackson Purchase ACA put in motion our ability to visit other financial institutions and corporations around the area.”

    Clark said the company’s contribution has encouraged other donations from many local businesses and has been an essential part of the A.C.R.E.S. campaign.

    “Jackson Purchase ACA has offices all over Western Ky. and they are a major lending institution for local farmers,” Clark said. “They are interested in the future of future farmers that graduate from Murray State University and it is very important for them to have qualified students for their agriculture lending in the future. The fact that they were willing to jump on board right at the beginning and set the example was a very good thing for the A.C.R.E.S. campaign.”

    Tony Brannon, dean of the School of Agriculture, said the donation will further enhance the agriculture program at MSU and will help the School continue to meet its educational objectives.

    “The main goal of having university farms is to help educate our students,” Brannon said. “Due to the limited farm experience of many of our students, the availability of expanded university farm laboratories becomes an even more critical part of their education. Even though most of today's students won't be farm owners, hands-on-farming experience and awareness is an important part of their education and preparation for careers that directly relate to the production sector of agriculture. Proudly, many of our past graduates have gone to work for ACA”

    Brannon said virtually all agricultural and agribusiness majors use the farms as part of their course work. The new University farm will allow the School to significantly expand their crop production laboratory which will allow for field trials in addition to small plot work and allow MSU agriculture to interface even more closely with the agricultural industry. The University Farm will also offer significant employment opportunities for students.

    Brannon said corporate and individual donor support is vital to the success of the campaign and it is critical to have broad based, industry wide support. Brannon said he and his students are thankful for donors like Jackson Purchase A.C.A. who are willing to donate to this important cause.

    “We are deeply appreciative of our friends from Jackson Purchase ACA for making the lead corporate gift in support of our ACRES campaign,” Brannon said. “We look forward to continuing to work with them as we develop the expanded acreage as an educational laboratory for our students.”