IMPERIAL — Cars drove through the Imperial Business Parkway, leaving with wallets slightly lighter but tummies about to be full, during the 68th Annual Imperial County Farm Bureau (ICFB) scholarship dinner Friday, April 30.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, what was normally a sit-down dinner at Ryerson Hall in El Centro was morphed into a Scholarship Drive-Thru BBQ and fundraiser raffle at the Imperial Valley Food Bank, said ICFB Executive Director Rachel Magos.
The tri-tip plates which were sold for $50 each to raise money for scholarships contained tri-tip, coleslaw, beans, bread, salsa, and came complete with goodie bags with various items inside, Magos said.
Magos said 250 tickets were pre-sold, selling out the Scholarship Fundraiser for ICFB, to support local students interested in agricultural studies.
She said a raffle was also held for items like sports jerseys, corn hole boards, an olive oil gift set, a children’s bicycle, and a Yeti ice chest.
“The importance of this event is to provide scholarships to our local ag students in hopes that they will pursue their education and come back and work in our agricultural industry locally,” Magos said.
“The main thing is just to advocate for agriculture,” she said. “Obviously, the ag industry is here is our number one industry economically and we want the students who come here — once they go off to school — to come back and use their knowledge, skills that they've obtained in college to keep our ag industry going, growing, and strong because it's what keeps our County economy going.”
ICFB Board President Jeff Plourd agreed, saying he hopes the scholarships help draw the students back.
“We'd love for our youth to go to school and come back and work in our agricultural industry here in the Imperial Valley,” he said. “Hopefully, that fosters that for those kids.”
“That's our hope,” he said, “that we have very big FFA and 4-H programs here in the Imperial Valley.”
Plourd said the 8-to-10 scholarships the Farm Bureau doles out are in varying amounts, with some as much as $5,000. He said the total amount given away is $35,000.
The seasoned meat was such a hit that even after being sold out of plates, the Farm Bureau sold some 5-pound bags of their tasty tri-tip at a discounted price.
“I just hope that we can advocate for ag and just let everyone know that it's an important industry and we need it for the success of the State and our local County,” Magos said, “and I just hope that that's a message that we can get out and get everybody involved and excited about agriculture.”
“There's so many businesses that depend on the ag industry here, and we just want to make sure that it keeps on,” she said.