Applications will be accepted beginning in November for the 2016 America's Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program. Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the program will provide over $500,000 in college scholarships across rural America next spring to support the next generation of agriculture. Last year, Iowa students were awarded $51,000 in scholarships.
Under the program, now in its second year, $1,500 scholarships are awarded to high school and college students pursuing ag-related degrees. Because farmers are the heart of the industry, applicants must obtain endorsements from at least three local farmers to be considered.
Encourages rural youth to remain in agriculture
Grow Ag Leaders is designed to encourage rural youth to remain in agriculture and to help them develop the skills needed to fill thousands of jobs in a variety of fields including farming, agronomy, education, engineering, business management and many more.
Many of the past recipients are not waiting until after they graduate to begin their ag careers. Instead, they are already actively engaged in their field of interest. Examples include a future agriculture teacher who developed an agriscience camp to educate her peers on ag literacy and a farm and ranch management major who maintains 240 acres of wheat while earning his degree.
Brock Boswell of Davis City in southern Iowa stays involved with his family's farm while pursuing his degree at Iowa State University. He is excited to begin his career in the ag industry.
Iowa student explains why he's interested in ag occupation
"My first interest in agriculture came from growing up on a farm, followed by enrolling in ag classes and continuing to learn while working with farmers through the family business," says Boswell. "That led me to be very involved in our local FFA chapter and earn an American FFA Degree. I am currently studying agriculture and life sciences education with a teacher certification. My degree will allow me to become either a high school agriculture teacher or pursue a career in agronomy."
With 57,900 average annual job openings in agriculture and only 35,400 college graduates expected to fill them, there is a great opportunity for students considering careers in this rapidly growing industry. Grow Ag Leaders depends on farmer participation to help identify talented young people for those positions.
Over $600,000 in scholarships to rural students nationwide
Since 2014, the Grow Ag Leaders program has awarded over $600,000 in scholarships to rural students across the country. Recipients are chosen based on academic achievement, leadership skills, community service and commitment to agriculture. Scholarships are administered by the National FFA Organization, but applicants need not be FFA members to apply. November 15 through February 1, students can apply online at FFA.org/scholarships. For more information, visit GrowAgLeaders.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Grow Ag Leaders is part of the America's Farmers initiative. Since 2010, the America's Farmers campaign and programs have advocated on behalf of farmers and their efforts to meet society's needs through agriculture. Learn more at AmericasFarmers.com.
About America's Farmers: The America's Farmers campaign highlights the importance of modern U.S. agriculture through communications and community outreach programs that partner with farmers to impact rural America. Visit americasfarmers.com.
About the Monsanto Fund: This is the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company. The fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto employees live and work. Visit monsantofund.org.