Two Central IL teens get $1,000 agriculture grants from Bob Evans

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Two Central Illinois teens are among four high schoolers in the state and 12 in the Midwest to receive $1,000 each from Bob Evans’ 2024 Supervised Agricultural Experience Grant.

In partnership with the National FFA Organization, the Bob Evans Restaurant’s SAE Grants aim to provide special opportunities for high school FFA members to tackle agricultural projects that can help advance the farming community. These experiences allow students to learn more about agriculture, marketing and running a business — all skills that officials with Bob Evans say are essential for success in the modern farming industry.

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Tyler Worthey of Neoga and Dalton Muench of Athens were both Central Illinois recipients of this year’s Bob Evans SAE Grant. They were chosen from a pool of more than 1,200 applicants.

Worthey plans to put the grant towards increasing business sales. He currently sells one quart a month of his freshly-grown hot sauce and jelly. Now, he’s hoping to sell one gallon a month.

Muench will use his $1,000 to improve production rates and perfect his 62 acres of corn and soybeans.

Fellow 2024 SAE Grant winners from Illinois include Helen Butcher from Palmyra and Charlie Edwards from Taylor Ridge. Both Butcher and Edwards will also use their money for increased production: Butcher hopes to get more customers by expanding her sorghum growing area to an acre, while Edwards aims to go from 25 to 50 pounds of fresh lettuce by improving his hydroponic system.

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“At the beginning of every year, we look forward to announcing our SAE Grant recipients and empowering future generations of farmers,” said Bob Holtcamp, President and CMO for Bob Evans Restaurants. “Having the opportunity to watch each of the 12 innovative projects from these students grow to new heights and positively affect the farming community is an act we hold close to our hearts. As the home of ‘America’s Farm Fresh,’ this program allows us to expand farm fresh food in local communities across America — an act that would make our founder, Bob Evans, proud to this day.”

Other grant winners include high school students from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and even Pennsylvania:

  • Kale Barhorst from Jackson Center, Ohio

  • Alexandra Kinney from Lewistown, Ohio

  • Kyle Arthur from Chillicothe, Ohio

  • Jonah Bales from Carmel, Ind.

  • Isaac Pohl from Fort Branch, Ind.

  • Garrett Zimmerman from Carlisle, Ky.

  • Wesley Endres from Belding, Mich.

  • Veronica Hummel from Middleburg, Pa.

To raise funds for next year’s SAE Grants, Bob Evans will be holding its annual “Egg Crack, Give Back” fundraiser on Give FFA Day: Feb. 22. For every Farmer’s Choice Breakfast sold that day, Bob Evans will donate $1 to FFA up to $15,000. The event takes place during National FFA Week, Feb. 17 to 24.

Visit to find out more about collaborations between Bob Evans and FFA.

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