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Finding Scholarships when Studying for an Agriculture Degree

written by: ciel s cantoria•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 5/30/2010

Finding scholarships when studying for an agriculture degree will lead students to organizations and institutions where they are also likely to find future career opportunities. Your involvement in agricultural community activities can increase your chances of gaining a scholarship or grant.

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    The Rising Demand for Graduates of Agriculture Degrees and Other Related Courses

    Greenhouse for strawberry 

    Searching and finding scholarships for agriculture degrees guides students to organizations and institutions where they may also find future career opportunities. It may be a federal agency, a business organization in the agricultural industry, or an association of farmers operating large commercials farms, or even a controversial food giant industry known for its exclusive hold over genetic engineering techniques.

    Ever since the food industry became such a complex sector, the demand for graduates of agriculture degrees has become high. There is great need for individuals with superior knowledge in microbiology, soil science, plant breeding and nutrition, horticulture, food processing, and a host of other science courses related to agricultural occupations including research and professorial careers.

    Students who manifest interests in pursuing agriculture degrees are further encouraged in pursuing their goals through scholarship incentives. This becomes a mutually beneficial arrangement, since the student is assured of finding a job once he graduates from college. The scholarship donors or sponsors, on the other hand, gain a proficient addition to their workforce. Hence, for students who are in search of this kind of scholarships, it can be said that finding a scholarship when studying for an agriculture degree would also mean finding a future career.

    Below are some of the many agricultural scholarships available in different agricultural regions or states:

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    Agriculture Scholarships and Where to Find Them

    800px-Dept of Agriculture 

    United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) 1890 National Scholars Program

    This program is open to students enrolled in any of 17 universities included in the classification known as 1890 Historically Black Land - Grant Institutions and the Tuskegee University, who are studying agriculture, food or natural resource sciences, and its related majors. The scholarship is intended to increase the number of students who manifest interest in studying agriculture and its related disciplines, since it entails an offer of career opportunities within the USDA.

    Eligible scholars are those studying:

    • Agriculture
    • Agricultural Economics
    • Agricultural Business/Management
    • Agricultural Production and Technology
    • Agricultural Engineering/Mechanics
    • Crop Science or Agronomy
    • Botany
    • Farm and Range Management
    • Animal Sciences
    • Fish, Game and Wildlife Management
    • Botany
    • Forestry and Related Sciences
    • Home Economics/Nutrition/Human Development
    • Natural Resources Management
    • Soil Conservation/Soil Science
    • Horticulture
    • Related disciplines including biological science, computer science and pre-veterinary medicine.

    A scholarship award provides for the student’s annual tuition fees, fees for lab and other academic activities, books, room and board for each academic year, use of a laptop computer, printer and software while on scholarship, and entitlement to employment and other employee benefits. Renewal of this scholarship depends on the scholar’s satisfactory performance and progress towards the completion of his bachelor’s degree. Upon completion of their degrees, the scholars are required to serve the USDA for a number of years that is equivalent to the number of years the student received this financial award.

    Graduating high school seniors, and college undergraduates up to junior level who may be attending other accredited US university are eligible, providing the latter will transfer to any of the 1890 Historically Black Land - Grant Institutions in order to receive this scholarship.

    For more information about the academic prerequisites, demonstrated leadership and community service requirements, the interested applicant may send their inquiries addressed to the USDA/1890 Programs at 1400 Independence Avenue, SW-- Washington, DC 20250 Mail Stop 9478 or send an email to .

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    This page contains information about the many scholarships offered by the 1st Farm Credit Services Scholarship Programs; finding scholarships when studying for an agriculture degree in Illinois will lead you to this institution.
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    1st Farm Credit Services Scholarship Programs

    This financial institution is the largest agricultural lender in Illinois and is based in Normal, Illinois, serving the agricultural, credit, and financial needs of farmers who live and work in the northern 42 counties of rural America. This credit company offers annual scholarships programs to students who have shown involvement in agriculture. It is the credit company’s way of investing in the country’s future farmers and leaders of America’s rural communities. The following are the annual scholarships that the1st Farm Credit Services offers:

    At the Heart of a Growing America-- Scholarship Program This scholarship awards $1,000 each to 24 deserving high school seniors, who are selected based on their community and agricultural involvement. Eligibility requirements include the high school senior’s acceptance into an agriculture related curriculum at any post secondary educational institution within the 42 counties serviced by the 1st Farm Credit Services. The high school senior is selected based on his academic achievement, involvement in community and agricultural youth organizations, and a brief essay. A panel of independent agribusiness, farm, education, and youth organization leaders selects the student who will be awarded this scholarship. For more information and submission of applications, interested applicants should get in touch with the local branch of the 1st Farm Credit Services in the student’s area or send their inquiries to Karen Blatter at

    Community College Scholarship Programs-This scholarship program is offered at the following community colleges:

    • Black Hawk College – East Campus,Keewanee
    • Illinois Central College East Peoria
    • Illinois Valley Community College, Oglesby
    • Highland Community College, Freeport
    • Spoon River College, Canton
    • Kishwaukee College, Malta
    • John Wood Community College
    • Perry and Joliet Junior College, Joliet.

    The eligible student is entitled to a $500 scholarship award if they are accepted into any agriculture or agriculture related curriculum at any of the above-mentioned community colleges. Interested applicants should contact the financial aid office at this list of Community College Contact Information.

    John Leatherbury Scholarship- Illinois State University- This scholarship is granted in partnership with the Illinois State University and the John Leatherbury Scholarship foundation. There is a $1,500 scholarship award to be granted to an agricultural major student whose academic performance merits the approval of the university. For more information about this scholarship, contact the Illinois State University Agriculture Department or Phone: (309) 438-5654.

    1st Farm Credit Services Scholarship, in partnership with the Western Illinois University (WIU), will award a $1,500 financial assistance to an agriculture major student enrolled at WUI in recognition of her academic performance. The university decides on the recipient of this award. For more information, get in touch with the Western Illinois University Agriculture Department, Knoblauch Hall 145, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455-1390 or Phone: 309/298-1080

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    This page contains a list of state universities and colleges where you can find scholarships for agricultural degrees.
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    Future Farmer of America (FFA), National Collegiate Scholarship Programs

    These scholarships are awarded to high school seniors and college students who are FFA members. If your school does not have an Agricultural Education Program, and you are interested in becoming an FFA member, find out from your state or local community about FFA chapters which you can join. The state or local community of a neighboring chapter will decide if you can join their chapter in case there is no FFA chapter in your community. Financial awards granted are used to defray costs of tuition, books, fees, supplies, and room and board.

    FFA scholarships are administered by the National FFA foundation, and are awarded by taking into consideration the student’s involvement, work experience, community service, leadership skills, academic performance, and Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE). For any question about these FFA scholarships, send your queries to or call 317-802-6099.

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    American-Agri-Women—Daughters of American Agriculture Scholarships

    American-Agri-Women—Daughters of American Agriculture Scholarships $500 offers are available to farm and ranch women who may be the farmer herself, or the wife, daughters , close relative of a farmer, rancher, or person employed in agriculture who can demonstrate financial need. The awards defray the cost of their tuition for agriculture-related studies of courses, agriculture, or directly related to agriculture. In addition, knowledge of agriculture or related work experience in agriculture is a requirement.

    Applications or and queries for additional information may be directed to Ardath DeWall ---Daughters of American Agriculture at 11841N.Mt. Vernon Road, Shannon, Il. 61078. Applications to be considered must be in by June 01.

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    Finding Scholarships for Agriculture Degrees at the Following Universities and Other Institutions

    Students seeking scholarships for agriculture degrees can explore the College of Agriculture Department of their region’s state universities and community colleges websites. Find scholarships for agriculture degrees by typing the following search words in Internet browsers:

    • Utah State University - College of Agriculture Scholarships
    • Oregon State-University - College of Agricultural Science Scholarships
    • Purdue University (Indiana) – College of Agriculture Scholarships
    • Oregon State University – College of Agricultural Science Scholarships
    • University of Georgia - College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Scholarships
    • CHS Foundation - Agriculture Scholarships
    • Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College - Scholarships
    • Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University - Scholarships
    • University of Missouri – Columbia College of Agriculture Scholarship
    • Illinois Agriculture Colleges Scholarships
    • Iowa State University - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – Scholarships
    • University of Maryland - College of Agriculture and Natural Resources- Scholarships
    • Annie's Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships
    • Garden Club of America – Agriculture Scholarships

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    Reference and Image Credits

    Reference Materials:


    Image Credits:

    • Wikimedia Commons