As demand for agricultural professionals grow, one in seventeen careers in Illinois are directly related to agriculture; and in Champaign County alone, the industry boasts an employment of nearly 2,800 residents. Driven to support an industry thirsty for agricultural professionals, the Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation recently extended over $60,000 in scholarships to Champaign County students.
The Foundation’s 2018-2019 scholarship recipients will receive a minimum of $1,000 scholarship to assist in defraying the rising cost of a college education. Scholars, college freshman through senior, will be honored at a scholarship luncheon in May.
Supporting students financially also encourages students to pursue a degree, and ultimately a career path, in agriculture. However; Foundation Executive Director Kirk Builta says there’s more to the Foundation’s scholarship program than cash. “The relationship with our scholars doesn’t end when the scholarship funds are deposited in their account. It’s our goal to connect students with industry mentors and resources that impact the education, and career outlook, of our scholars.” This is accomplished through a year-long, and perhaps life-long, connection between student and scholarship donor.
All 44 of this year’s scholarship recipients are enrolled in an accredited college or university in an agricultural or food-related curriculum. Next fall, Foundation Scholars will study at 11 different colleges or Universities in five states.
The Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation provides educational opportunities that impact the future of the food and agricultural industry in Champaign County, and around the world. Since its inception in 1986, the Foundation is proud to have provided over 415 Champaign County students the encouragement and financial resources to succeed in college. In addition, the Foundation’s Ag in the Classroom program – Earth Partners, educates over 11,000 local students twice, annually. The Earth Partners’ programs connects students to the food system and educates of agriculture’s importance in our local communities.