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    First National Bank of Mayfield donates to A.C.R.E.S. campaign

    FNB Bank, Inc. of Mayfield recently donated $6,000 to Murray State University’s Agriculture Campaign for Research and Education of Students (A.C.R.E.S.).

    A.C.R.E.S. is an effort to raise $1.5 million toward the purchase of a 250 acre research and laboratory farm, equipment, buildings, fences, advanced technologies and other farm improvements.

    FNB, founded in 1875, is one of the oldest banks in the state of Kentucky and ranks among the highest in the nation in the area of safety and soundness. The bank currently has eight locations: Mayfield, Lone Oak, Paducah, Murray, Cadiz Main, Cadiz West and Wingo.

    Marty Nichols, president and CEO of FNB, said the bank is donating to the A.C.R.E.S. campaign because they want to invest in the education of future agriculture leaders.

    “FNB recognizes the value of investing in the future generation of farmers and agribusiness leaders, and it is with great pleasure that we make a contribution to the A.C.R.E.S. campaign,” Nichols said. “The new farm laboratory will equip students with valuable hands on experience that will impact the Purchase Region of Kentucky for years to come.”

    Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, said corporate and individual donor support for the A.C.R.E.S. campaign is continuing to grow and is vital to the success of the campaign as it is critical to have broad based, industry wide support.
    Brannon said he and his students are thankful for donors like First National Bank who are willing to donate to this important cause.
    “We are deeply appreciative of First National Bank for making this gift in support of our ACRES campaign,” 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.

    “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 and agribusiness sector of agriculture. Proudly, many of our past graduates have gone to work in the financial services area.”

    Brannon said the Hutson School of Agriculture has grown tremendously in terms of students, programs and laboratory needs. The school currently has 771 students, an overall 7.83% increase in 2010 alone. The Murray State Hutson School of Agriculture is the second largest program in the state but its student to acre ratio is the lowest in Kentucky and in the five state service region. However, with help from donors like FNB, the Hutson School of Agriculture will be able to educate students more effectively by allowing them hands-on experience working in the farm.

    Individuals wishing to give to the A.C.R.E.S. campaign can donate a tax deductable gift that will be used to purchase farm acreage and improvements and can be pledged over a five year period. For more information on the A.C.R.E.S. campaign contact the Office of Development at 1-877-282-0033.