Tennessee Cotton Farmer Wins $20,000 ‘Transform My Community’ Grand Prize For The Bogota Community Center.
When the doors closed at Bogota Elementary School, the close-knit rural neighborhood couldn’t imagine not having a central meeting place to gather for support and fellowship. The building was more than just brick and mortar. It defined the exuberant spirit of Bogota, a small town nestled in the rolling hills of Dyer County in Northwest Tennessee.
Area cotton farmer Bettie Woods recalls that volunteers acquired the vacant building in 2000 and named it the Bogota Community Center.
“These organizers held strong convictions that each resident of the community was and is an equal member of the community family and should be supported during the best of times and the worst of times,” she says. “The center assists families of the community and their friends, relatives and neighbors. Birthday parties, reunions, weddings, anniversary celebrations and bereavement meals have been held there.”
The Bogota Community Center also opens for flooding evacuees and serves as a storm disaster shelter, Red Cross relief site, voting precinct, and local law enforcement training and instruction facility. A landing pad for the medevac service is also available. The Bogota Volunteer Fire Department routinely uses the building for training and equipment storage, and volunteers hold fund-raising events there for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Woods says the center provides a venue for social interaction and entertainment in the community, including a Fourth of July parade that has been held for the past 15 years. It also is home to a library and a museum filled with relics and memorabilia from the school, previous students, historical items from early community life and as much history about local veterans as possible.
Helping Communities Flourish
Woods explains that even with fundraisers, private contributions, volunteer workers, and repair and maintenance sometimes provided by local inmates, there is always a financial struggle to properly maintain and repair the building.
“Likewise, without the center, the community would struggle to develop and maintain the cohesive neighborhood relationships that are so important for the development of all people of all ages,” she says. “I entered the Transform My Community Contest with the hope of winning the $20,000 grand prize to help ensure the community center would continue to exist.”
The Transform My Community Contest, sponsored by Transform WG insecticide, PhytoGen and Cotton Farming magazine, was open to cotton farmers and consultants.
Participants submitted a short essay about how their community organization could be transformed with a $20,000 donation from Dow AgroSciences. Entries were judged on compelling need, creativity and tie-in to the Transform WG insecticide theme.
Mike Fox, Dow AgroSciences insecticides product manager, awarded the grand prize money to Woods during a check presentation ceremony held recently at the center.
“Dow AgroSciences is passionate about helping cotton growers transform their fields with the superior tarnished plant bug control of Transform insecticide and the excellent yield and fiber quality from PhytoGen varieties,” he says. “That’s why Transform and PhytoGen are proud to sponsor this program and support Bettie and the Bogota Community Center who are working so hard to help others in this area. Thank you for everything you do, and congratulations.”
Cotton Fields Also Benefit
Woods says just as the center is a valuable part of the community, Transform WG insecticide is a valuable tool to use on her cotton acres, which currently are planted to PhytoGen brand PHY 330 W3FE.
“Transform does an excellent job controlling tough insects, such as plant bugs and has great residual control,” she says. “It also is easy on beneficial insects, which is a bonus. And Transform tankmixes well, minimizing our trips through the fields. Transform does everything we ask it to do. That’s why we plan to keep it in our pest management program.”
Wally Childress, who farms Woods’ land, says, “Around Bogota, all of the cotton is PhytoGen, and it all was treated with Transform. That’s proof we really believe in these products.”
Judy Childress, Bogota Community Center president, says, “This money will be spent wisely, and we appreciate it so much. The most pressing projects are roof repair and heating and air replacement. We always want to do more for people, and this grand prize award will allow us to do that.”
Transform My Community Runners-Up
In addition to Bettie Woods being chosen the grand prize winner of the Transform My Community Contest, two runners-up were recognized for their outstanding entries. Each one received a $500 donation to his cause.
• Boyle, Mississippi, cotton consultant LOGAN ROBERTS submitted an entry on behalf of the Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland, Mississippi. This non-profit group established a library at Pearman Elementary School and a public park for kids of all ages to play. It also operates an assistance program for needy families with special attention toward children. To view the latest news and events, visit Junior Auxiliary of Cleveland, Mississippi, on Facebook.
• JARRET WEINHEIMER, also named a runner-up, is a cotton farmer in Groom, Texas. His favorite organization is the FFA chapter in Claude, Texas, which has been making great strides in improving its community’s youth. Whether these kids are learning to weld, being taught how to care for sick animals or even learning how to analyze a farm’s balance sheet, they are gaining experience that will improve their lives and the lives of many. To learn more, visit the Texas FFA Foundation on Facebook.