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(AUDIO) Pender student receives $1,000 grant to expand FFA project

(AUDIO) Pender student receives $1,000 grant to expand FFA project

I actually looked at this as an unfortunate opportunity for entrepreneurship.

- Alexis Bodlak

Alexis Bodlak, a student from Pender, Nebraska, was recently awarded a $1,000 student project grant from the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Bodlak, who will be a junior at Pender Public Schools, worked at a local greenhouse in Thurston during her first two years of high school. Due to her employer scaling back portions of greenhouse production, Bodlak wanted to find another way to get involved in horticulture and business.

“I actually looked at this as an unfortunate opportunity for entrepreneurship,” said an optimistic Bodlak.

Although she enjoyed working at the greenhouse, scaled-back production meant fewer hours for Bodlak, but she needed to accumulate hours for her FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE). With guidance from her FFA advisor, she brainstormed project ideas and applied for a student project grant to launch her own greenhouse. 

Hear Alexis Bodlak’s story here.

Since receiving the grant, Bodlak has decided to concentrate on two main components of her entrepreneurial ventures.

First, she wants to expand her role in the community by providing more fresh fruits and vegetables to local families in need through donations to the food bank.

Second, she plans to travel to farmer’s markets and talk to consumers about plant science and food production.

Alexis Bodlak
Don Zila and Alexis Bodlak

“I think a lot of times in ag, there’s a disconnect between the producer and the consumer, which is probably why I love farmer’s markets so much because you get to talk with the people you’re selling to,” said Bodlak.

The grant, available to Nebraska Farm Bureau student members ages 16-23, has enabled Bodlak to begin building her own greenhouse where she can raise her own plants.

Bodlak has aspirations to study environmental health sciences, plant science or a related field in college.

Three other students received a $1,000 project grant, including Makenna Eisenzimmer from Keith County, and Lindsey Mendenhall and Morayah Cupp from Chase County.

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