The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

The GROWMARK Foundation continues its commitment to FFA by giving away 25 more jackets this fall. The effort honors the legacy of Mike Builta, a GROWMARK vice president and long-time employee who passed away unexpectedly in 2019.

Mike’s wife Sheila, along with daughters Haley and Kelsey, wished to honor his memory by providing 100 FFA jackets to Illinois FFA members – 25 each year from 2019-2022.

“FFA was a huge influence in Mike’s life and career,” added Sheila Builta. “He would be pleased to help future students have the opportunity to wear the blue jacket just as he did.”

This year, Illinois FFA members were asked to answer the question “What does the FFA jacket mean to you?”. They were also asked to share the main goal they wished to accomplish as an FFA member.

The 2020 recipients are:
• Thomas (TJ) Conner Galva FFA Galva, Illinois
• Taylor Fry Genoa-Kingston FFA Genoa, Illinois
• Banan Garada Urbana FFA Urbana, Illinois
• Danielle Giacinto Streator FFA Streator, Illinois
• Chloe Grant Taylorville FFA Owaneco, Illinois
• Mia Hernandez Bureau Valley FFA Sheffield, Illinois
• Cash Hubbard Sterling FFA Sterling, Illinois
• Maera Jimenez Marquette Academy FFA Ottawa, Illinois
• Sydney Long Streator FFA Streator, Illinois
• Vincent McKinney Wayne City FFA Bluford, Illinois
• Jett Mehalic Streator FFA Streator, Illinois
• Claire Meyer Tuscola FFA Arcola, Illinois
• Madison Morton Pecatonica FFA Pecatonica, Illinois
• Abby Norris Taylorville FFA Palmer, Illinois
• Macy Sager Pecatonica FFA Pecatonica, Illinois
• Tessa Saxe Morrisonville FFA Morrisonville, Illinois
• Alexis Spivey Galva FFA Galva, Illinois
• Ella Thacker Bureau Valley FFA Walnut, Illinois
• Alexis Walkling Streator FFA Kangley, Illinois
• Elizabeth Weidner Teutopolis FFA Dieterich, Illinois
• Ethan Weidner Teutopolis FFA Dieterich, Illinois
• Carter Westphal Newark FFA Newark, Illinois

Builta was raised on a family farm near Bellflower, Illinois. He was an active FFA member and lifelong supporter of agricultural education. He held GROWMARK System management roles at Christian County Farmers Supply Company in Taylorville, Illinois and GRAINCO FS in Ottawa, Illinois, before becoming GROWMARK’s vice president of Energy and Logistics in 2018.

About The GROWMARK Foundation:

The GROWMARK Foundation was formally incorporated in 2005 and supports 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organizations. The Foundation is focused on programs and activities which support: the vitality of the industry of agriculture; agriculture education and consumer understanding of agriculture's contributions to society and the economy; agricultural leadership development; and education about the benefits of the cooperative way of doing business. The GROWMARK System has been involved in a variety of philanthropic efforts, including youth and young leader education and development and scholarships, for decades.


GROWMARK is an agricultural cooperative with annual sales of $8.7 billion (FY 2019 data) providing agronomy, energy, facility planning, and logistics products and services, as well as grain marketing and risk management services throughout North America. Headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois, GROWMARK owns the FS trademark, which is used by affiliated member cooperatives. More information is available at