Tractor Supply hosts national FFA fundraiser

Tractor Supply is hosting the Grants for Growing program, funded by donations to help fund Future Farmers of America (FFA) agricultural projects nationwide.

Tractor Supply makes donation to National FFA Foundation

Tractor Supply Co. partners with the National FFA Organization to support future agricultural leaders through their Grants for Growing program. This year, Tractor Supply stores across the country raised a record $970,121 through customer donations, which will go to fund FFA chapters across the country for the development or improvement of a proposed sustainable, youth-driven agricultural project.

Tractor Supply awarded 259 grants this spring to 258 FFA chapters in the U.S., impacting around 24,000 students. Examples of agricultural products the grants will support include school gardens and beekeeping stations. The grants will be used to purchase needed supplies such as hydroponic systems, power tools, fencing, vegetation, livestock, feed and more.

“The Grants for Growing program gives Tractor Supply the opportunity to leave a lasting, positive impact on youth across the country who are interested in farming, gardening and other hands-on, outdoor projects,” Christi Korzekwa, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply, said. “The thoughtful donations from this program allow us to further students’ understanding of agriculture by providing educators with the necessary resources to make our communities more sustainable places.”

FFA received over 400 grant applications over the course of six weeks from FFA chapters detailing how they would start or expand an agricultural project. Agricultural projects that were awarded grants include an FFA chapter in Louisiana that plans to expand their beekeeping operation, and a Virginia FFA chapter building an on-site barn so students can have more hands-on experiences with livestock.

Wasatch Front suffers rise in gas prices, slow house prices

According to the Zion’s Bank Wasatch Front Consumer Price Index released last week, to major trends seen from March to April were swiftly rising gas prices and, while housing prices haven’t begun to go down, the growth of housing prices has slowed slightly.

Transportation costs jumped 5.7% in April, mostly due to the rise in gas prices, according to a press release summarizing the findings. This is especially notable compared to national numbers — transportation costs for the U.S. on average only jumped 2.5%, according to the U.S. Consumer Price Index. However, looking at numbers for both the Wasatch Front and the U.S. over the last year, the increases for transportation costs are more similar, at 1.7% and 1.6% respectively.

Zions Banks, which partners with the Cicero Group for the reports, says the 5.7% increase is the largest month-to-month increase since June 2015, with gas prices increasing 31% in April, and settling at a rate 3.2% higher than they were in April 2018. However, a representative with the Cicero Group said they don’t expect that trend to continue.

Housing costs in general only increased 0.6% in April, which the Consumer Price Index report states is due to an increase in hotel and motel rates, and apartment prices. Housing costs have risen 5.2% over the past year in Utah, as compared to rising 2.9% for the U.S. on average.

The press release states housing prices are at the highest level ever recorded, setting a record high for the third month in a row. However, the 5.2% change over the past 12 months is the lowest it’s been sine June 2018, and price growth has dropped for the fourth straight month.

On a positive note for those who rent or own a home or apartment, utilities continue to eke down little by little, with a 1.9% decrease in the last month, and an average decrease of 1.2% over the past year.

Provo company finds mistakes can lead to productivity loss

VitalSmarts, a Provo company that specializes in leadership training, found in a recent study that even small, seemingly unimportant mistakes by just one or two members of a company can cut team performance by an average of 24%. Examples of “mistakes” include missed deadlines, failure to make critical hand offs and working on the wrong priorities.

VitalSmarts surveyed 1,160 people online and asked them how their team members do when it comes to four common “slip ups.” The results of the survey found that consistently, over 90% of people said they had one or two team members who regularly did things like miss deadlines, forget appointments, spend too much time on the wrong priorities or fail to get important things done. Roughly half of people surveyed also said their manager(s) were the ones making these mistakes.

The researchers behind the study say it reveals that team success depends on personal effectiveness skills, not subject matter expertise.

“We need to shift our thinking about what makes a valuable team member,” David Maxfield, vice president of research at VitalSmarts, said. “We often hire or select people for a team because of their experience or technical skills. However, this research shows no amount of knowledge or skills can make up for the harm a handful of poor productivity practices will have on team morale and results.”

Maxfield and fellow researcher Justin Hale also shared four skills teams can develop to increase productivity: “end with action,” or end meetings with a clear action and plan for follow up; “create a capture culture,” which simply means writing down tasks, assignments or ideas down; “do the right stuff,” which includes being clear about priorities and respecting people’s time to work on them; and “make it okay to say ‘no,’” which prevents team members from taking on more than they can handle, therefore causing them to miss a deadline, or several deadlines.

Learn more about VitalSmarts and their training solutions by visiting https://www.vitalsmarts.com.