Sonoma farmer and fifth-generation winemaker Steve Ledson and his family donated $15,000 to the Sonoma FFA (Future Farmers of America) program at Sonoma Valley High School during a check-passing ceremony on Wednesday. The donation represents proceeds generated from August and September receipts at Centre du Vin, the restaurant in the Ledson Hotel on the Sonoma Plaza.

Both Ledson and his father, Noble Ledson, attended Santa Rosa High School where they were members of the FFA. Noble Ledson was also on the Santa Rosa High School Dairy Cattle Judging team that, in 1935, went to the national judging contest in Kansas City where they earned first place. “Being a member of FFA gave me a way of life that has served me well,” said Ledson. “Because of that, I wanted to give something back to this organization.” He added, “We are first and foremost a farming community and this program, which educates and guides Sonoma youth into agriculture, should be applauded."

The FFA is a youth organization that provides students opportunities to gain leadership and career skills. Students take part in student officer teams that lead the organization, and participate in leadership conferences and meetings throughout the state. They also participate in various judging teams, such as vine pruning, ag mechanics, landscape and best informed green hand.

The agriculture program at Sonoma Valley High School has two agri-science classrooms, an ag mechanics shop classroom and a school farm that includes livestock facilities, a greenhouse and a vineyard of wine grapes. Students use these facilities to practice hands-on skills learned in classes, and participate in supervised agriculture experience projects and career development events.

The Ledson Hotel’s Centre du Vin offers French bistro fare with a seasonal menu focused on dishes created from a variety of locally grown and produced specialties.