The nonprofit supports 4-H clubs, FFA chapters, Grange organizations, and Independent exhibitors
CENTRAL COAST — The nonprofit organization 805 Ag Kids has announced its expansion to now include support for local ag kids in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, in addition to continuing their fundraising efforts in Ventura County.
805 Ag Kids is a 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on advocating and supporting 4-H clubs, FFA chapters, Grange organizations, and Independent exhibitors.
The nonprofit was started in 2019 with board members attending board meetings and ensuring policies met the children’s and chapters’ needs.
“There was no one that was bringing these kids together collectively and working in their best interest as a whole,” said 805 Ag Kids CEO Megan Hook.
Then in 2020, their support for kids in agriculture grew. With the Ventura County Fair canceled and replaced with an online auction, the people behind 805 Ag Kids knew the prices would be devastating to the kids auctioning livestock.
With help from the community, the organization raised $92,000 to help the kids — many of whom get bank loans to fund their livestock projects — with their bottom line. The funds raised amounted to about $431 per kid.
The Ventura County Fair, held in August, was again canceled in 2021. So 805 Ag Kids made the move to host their own two-day livestock show in August at the fairgrounds with an online auction.
“We had record-breaking sales thanks to the community really stepping up and helping these kids,” said Hook.
Hosting livestock shows were not the organizations goal, but as they saw it, if they didn’t do it then no one would. With participation and members declining in 4H and FFA chapters, having another canceled show would not be an option.
“As an organization who prides itself on supporting the next generation in agriculture, it’s upsetting to see kids lose interest and fall out of these programs and clubs and chapters close because there’s not enough interest,” said Hook.
“Our job is to try and keep kids interested, help support them financially, and do whatever we can to make sure that they have every opportunity available and that these programs continue,” she continued.
As fairs return to normal, the organization still sees a need to support and re-engage the kids back into the agriculture programs.
Many of the FFA and 4-H members don’t come from a generational farm family or don’t have either disposable income or a place to keep their livestock animals. Hook and the organization’s goal is to make sure all the students and members have the opportunity to participate in the agriculture programs.
“It’s a good life lesson, of course, but it’s also a matter of these are kids, and we need to do what we can as a community to foster their love of agriculture,” says Hook.
Offering support in any way they can and garnering children’s interest in agriculture is ultimately the organization’s goal — which they are now expanding to San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.
The expansion of the 805 Ag Kids organization has garnered immediate support from the community. As the result of a $90,000 donation from the Gold Coast Toyota Dealers, the Ventura County Fair, the Santa Barbara County Fair, and the California Mid-State Fair will each receive $30,000 to support 805 Ag Kids by way of providing needed improvements and upgrades in the youth livestock departments at each respective fair.
“We thought it just made sense that we expand our support to help the ag kids in those areas too,” said Hook.
805 Ag Kids is now accepting donations and sponsorships on their website 805AgKids.com with 100 percent of all online donations going directly to benefit local tri-county area Ag Kids.
Learn more about 805 Ag Kids at 805AgKids.com.