A fund drive to raise $11,000 to pay for interpreters of farm life at the historic Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River has been launched by Friends of the Kelley Farm.
The money also will be used to pay for scholarships for low-income students so they can attend farm events.
John Kuester, president of the Friends of the Kelley Farm, said this money has to be raised to sustain the current educational program, because funding from the Minnesota Legislature has been cut.
Each year more than 14,000 elementary students from 110 schools in 42 school districts of central Minnesota visit the farm. Interpreters actively engage the students in learning about the farm and doing some of the chores.
In addition, 14,000 visitors come to the farm, which is the biggest tourist attraction in the Elk River and Anoka area.
The farm, established in 1849 along the Mississippi River in Elk River, is a National Historic Landmark, as designated by the National Park Service. It is one of 23 in Minnesota and 2,430 in the United States.
Oliver Kelley also founded the National Grange in 1867, which speaks for millions of small farmers in the United States. The Minnesota Grange meets annually at the farm.
The Board of Directors of the Friends of the Kelley Farm has pledged $2,000 for the drive.
Kuester said businesses and organizations will be contacted to make tax-deductable contributions to the farm.
The donor levels are:
•Milking Shorthorn, $1,000 level
•Lineback, $500 level
•Bershire, $250 level
•Southdown, $100 level
Donations can be sent to: Friends of the Kelley Farm, Oliver Kelley Farm, 15788 Kelley Farm Road., Elk River, Mn. 55330.