FUEL-ing Careers in Production Agriculture

By: Kirk Builta – Executive Director, CCFB Foundation

A new program offered by the Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation takes aim at a growing need in production agriculture by encouraging the expansion of essential agricultural career pathways. Through the new FUEL grant program, the Foundation will support careers which fuel production agriculture.

Career-driven students pursing associates degrees, certificates, or accreditations in various technical agricultural fields will be eligible to apply for annual grant funding. Areas of study could include precision ag technology, agricultural business/operations management, diesel power technology, veterinary technology, landscape design, and more.

Grant funds can be requested for a wide range of educational needs from tuition and fees to books, tools, lab equipment and more. CCFB Foundation Executive Director Kirk Builta says the program will remain flexible to the needs of students. “If there is a financial roadblock preventing a student from pursuing their education, we want to take that into consideration, and help where we can.”

Builta hopes the program is designed to not only help students afford the cost of education, but also to build connections for careers within the local industry. “In addition to alleviating the financial burden on our students, we also hope to provide meaningful connections to local businesses for internships and eventual careers.’

To receive funding, students with a passion for agriculture can complete a short application online at www.ccfbfoundation.com/FUEL. Applications are open and will remain open for consideration through May 15 2024.  Applications will be considered from any Champaign County student enrolled in a qualified curriculum at any college or trade school, or any in-district Parkland College student enrolled in a qualified curriculum.

Funding for FUEL Grants has been established through a significant financial commitment from various local agribusinesses and individuals like the family and friends of Ross Booker, Dr. David and Sharron Mies, Power Planter, CIT Trucks, Ehler Brothers, Illini FS, Nutrien, Premier Cooperative, Syngenta, United Prairie and the CCFB Foundation’s Board of Directors. If you or your company are interested in supporting this program, opportunities are still available. Interested parties should contact CCFB Foundation Executive Director Kirk Builta for more information.

The Champaign County Farm Bureau Foundation communicates the critical importance of agriculture to the community. The Foundation educates by bringing knowledge and understanding through the Ag in the Classroom program, by providing scholarships and grants to future ag leaders, and through fundraising to support these initiatives. For more information regarding the CCFB Foundation visit www.ccfbfoundation.com.