America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders is now launching in 40 states, with more than $500,000 worth of scholarships available.
Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the program provides $1,500 college scholarships to students pursuing a degree related to agriculture. Starting Nov. 15, high school seniors and college students in Minnesota and other eligible states can apply for this opportunity.
Farmers know the rewards of a career in agriculture, but many of today’s youth may not. Thankfully, there is an abundance of evidence that agriculture is a smart career choice. According to the USDA, nearly 55,000 jobs in agriculture are available every year. Many of the nation’s largest land-grant institutions, such as Penn State and Texas A&M University, report job placement rates above 90 percent for their ag students.
Grow Ag Leaders helps engage future generations in agriculture by raising awareness of the broad range of career opportunities in the industry and by supporting their college education. The program was created in response to farmer requests to keep rural youth involved in agriculture. Farmers can participate in the program by encouraging students in their community to apply for a scholarship and by endorsing their application. Because farmers play a crucial role in the industry, each applicant is required to obtain endorsements from at least three local farmers.
“We want to encourage ambitious and talented students to pursue careers in this growing field,” said Elizabeth Vancil, Youth and Community Outreach manager at Monsanto. “As students who grew up in rural areas learn more about what agriculture has become, they are realizing that it is a fascinating, hi-tech industry, with job growth, job security and high wages. These young people are seeing that there are emerging opportunities for a new generation of innovative young farmers, engineers, implement designers, marketing specialists and seed scientists.”
Grow Ag Leaders is part of the overall America's Farmers campaign, which highlights the vital role played by farmers, through programs designed to support rural communities. Farmers interested in promoting the program and endorsing students’ scholarship applications can learn how at GrowAgLeaders.com.
The scholarships are administered by the National FFA Organization, but FFA membership is not required to apply. Students have until Feb. 1, 2015, to complete the application online at FFA.org/scholarships.