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September 18, 2012   Email to Friend 

Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406
September 18, 2012

Monsanto Regional Business Director Dion McBay presents a $12,500 to the Hackleburg High School agriculture department to help rebuild the program. Pictured, from left, are Marion County Commissioner Don Barnwell, Hackleburg High School Principal John Hardin, Hackleburg High School agriscience teacher Kristin Nunley, Monsanto Crop Protection Account Manager Terry Little, and McBay.
HACKLEBURG, Ala., Sep. 12 - Four Alabama high schools still recovering from the April 2011 tornadoes received donations from Monsanto to help rebuild their ag programs.

The agriculture departments at Phil Campbell High School, Hackleburg High School, Bibb County Career Academy and Plainview High School each received $12,500. The career academy was heavily damaged, while the other three schools were destroyed by the April 2011 storms.

"This money is given freely for the departments to do what is needed most to get the ag classrooms and shops back up and running," said Dion McBay, regional business director for Monsanto. McBay is an Alabama native whose hometown of Albertville was nearly destroyed by an EF-3 tornado in April 2010.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and the Alabama Farmers Federation assisted Monsanto in locating schools for the donations.

At Phil Campbell High School, the only trace of the old agriculture classroom is a concrete slab. Since the storms, teachers and students have adjusted to the network of trailers and hallways now serving as classrooms and offices.

"We have a double-wide," said agriscience teacher Jonathan King. "On one end, we built work tables. We use jigsaws, drills, electric sanders and small hand tools so we can still do woodworking. The other end is the classroom. We can still do small building projects."

While using a trailer as a workshop is challenging, some worries for the agriculture department have been put to rest with the donation from Monsanto. King said he hopes to purchase new equipment with the funds.

"It's a big help as far as being able to afford things," King said. "This is going to allow us to buy more technologically advanced tools, other than having the standard stuff."

Hackleburg High School agriscience teacher Kristin Nunley said she was overwhelmed by the contribution to her department.

"Being in a farming community, kids really do understand how important this ag program is to our city," Nunley said. "I feel this donation is going to a very good cause and to some great kids who are going to do great things with it."

Her department will use the money to replace equipment. The remaining funds will go directly to the students to help pay for FFA events and supplies.

For more information on Monsanto, visit www.Monsanto.com.

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