Kubota Tractor Corporation announced on Monday that the Wayne County Ag Center is the winner of the Kubota “Hometown Proud” community revitalization grant program. Wayne County will receive a $100,000 grant and loaned equipment from Kubota to help develop the grounds for the county’s first and only dedicated Agricultural Center.
Kubota announced its first-ever community revitalization grant program, “Hometown Proud,” on March 11, calling on cities, towns, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations from across the United States to submit an application for consideration. Nearly 400 grant applications were received from nearly every state in the country, demonstrating diverse needs from communities big and small. In May, Kubota identified the top five finalists and then called on the public to vote to help determine the winner of the $100,000 grant and use of Kubota equipment to refresh or revitalize a community project.
“Kubota is built upon the idea that together we can do more, and through the support of our communities, our customers and our dealers anything is truly possible,” said Todd Stucke, Kubota Senior Vice President, Marketing, Product Support & Strategic Projects. “We called upon the public to vote to help us decide which of these incredibly deserving communities would receive the much-needed funding and hard-working Kubota equipment and we are pleased to award Wayne County with the grand prize. We hope our excavators and tractors will be just the tools needed to bring Wayne County’s vision to life.”
Wayne County is beginning construction of the Ag Center within the existing Wayne County Industrial Park that has been used for hay production for more than 30 years. The facility will house the local UT Extension and Soil and Conservation offices, a 125-person training/meeting room, commercial kitchen, and a covered pavilion to provide outdoor classroom and event space. The grounds around the facility will be used for ag-related shows, demonstrations, and eventually, community gardens. Local Kubota dealer, Brown Equipment Company, in Loretto, Tennessee, will provide the needed equipment and serve as a resource to the Wayne County Ag Center team as they bring their project to life.
“We were so grateful to have been chosen as a finalist, to actually win was far beyond our expectations,” said Wayne County Executive Jim Mangubat. “All five communities have such great projects, and I sincerely wish them the best. Thank you, Kubota, for offering this opportunity and supporting small rural communities like ours. I’m thankful to all our family members, friends, Facebook friends and friends of friends all across America that voted, too!”
Wayne County JECDB Director Rena Purdy, who helped submit the original grant application and worked hard to get votes for the grant, said that groundbreaking for the Ag Center will hopefully take place this fall.
Agriculture and forestry are Wayne County’s leading economic drivers, and the county is home to over 650 farms covering more than 130,000 acres of farmland. This project will allow for the expansion of existing ag-related programming, encourage more entrepreneur farmers, and provide training to increase farm production levels, with the hope of increasing the number of jobs in the agriculture industry within the county.
Photos courtesy of Ricky Nelson