IFAA story: For as long as the Iowa State Fair has been in existence, youth from around the state have exhibited their livestock projects with pride at the State Fairgrounds in search of a purple banner. Until the late 1980's, the kids who earned the right to be called Grand Champion were often rewarded with less than market price for their animals. In 1987 at the conclusion of another dismal sale of the champion animals, a group of livestock industry members decided that a change was in order to not only reward the hard work of the grand champion projects but to provide more incentive for others to participate in raising livestock projects. At that point, the Iowa Foundation for Agricultural Advancement was born.

The original mission was simply to provide a base level of funds to support the sale of grand and reserve champion projects for the major species at a premium. After years of success growing the Sale of Champions into the envy of many state fairs around the country, IFAA expanded giving to include scholarship programs and performance awards in order to reach more youth. Today, the IFAA offers over $200,000 per year in scholarships funded by groups such as the Governor of Iowa, Iowa Corn Growers, Bruce Rastetter, Iowa Select Farms, Sinclair Tractor, Cargill, Rain and Hail Insurance, Pioneer, HyVee, and Fareway to name a few. Support for the IFAA Sale of Champions and subsequent scholarship and awards programs has steadily grown from $50,000 the first year to $575,000 today.

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