Planting Hope at Salem4Youth

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Salem4youth's First Fruits 4 Youth Program

A program in central Illinois uses farming – and the discipline and hard work it requires – to help struggling teens get back on track.

Salem4Youth, a faith-based, nonprofit ministry, works with boys 13 to 17 years old “who need encouragement and hope,” according to its mission. The young men learn about agriculture through working on Salem’s 100-acre farm. Located in Flanagan, about 35 miles northeast of Bloomington, the farm has horses, a nine-hive apiary, raises Hereford cattle and grows soybeans, corn and hay. Salem also has a 4-H program on its campus.

Through Salem’s First Fruits 4 Youth…Planting Hope program, area farmers can donate bushels of grain at their local elevator to support the young men at Salem. The group uses all donations to fund the program.

“A facet of the program strives to educate the young men about animal husbandry and farming,” says Livingston County Farm Bureau member Steve “Mac” McNair, who serves as Salem’s development director. “We also look for opportunities for the young men to meet the growers who have blessed the work through their donation to learn about their farming operation.”

Learn more about their programs at

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