The Future Farmers of America (FFA) is one of the leading sources for agriculture scholarships.
Its Living to Serve program has been a widespread success as students use agriculture scholarships and the skills those scholarships help them build to meet community needs around the country.
One of the modern goals of agriculture scholarships is to encourage students to stay in the family business. As more young adults from farming families choose to pursue lives outside of farming, agriculture scholarships provide financial incentive for them to stay on the farm—at least in the short-term. Many of these financial incentives are offered in the form of loan forgiveness, generally to the tune of about $2,000 a year.
As the children of farmers increasingly migrate toward the city and the suburbs in search of what they consider a more modern lifestyle, women and migrant workers have helped to fill the void. This has led to some attractive opportunities to earn agriculture scholarships for both groups.
For instance, each year a large tractor company sponsors four agriculture scholarships for women. The award has become so popular that some years there are 1,500 applicants for those four agriculture scholarships.
These agriculture scholarships are tied in to grade point average, an essay, and other merit-based criteria. With 1,500 applicants for those four agriculture scholarships this award is a great example of how a scholarship can lift an entire community.
Those 1,496 applicants who don’t win the scholarship are better for having gone through the process. And they may just win the next time around because of the experience from the first go around.
Or how about agriculture scholarships for the children of farm workers who don’t necessarily own the farms? Mainly immigrants from Mexico who came to America to work on farms as hourly employees, they often bring families, including children, who would like to attend college but can’t afford it.
There are government programs designed for the children of immigrants. In addition to these government programs there are other scholarship programs that consider any special hardships the applicant may have had to overcome to attend college. Some of these students may even be eligible for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
The FAFSA will tell you if you at the very least qualify for a Pell Grant worth up to $5,800. This is the most common grant the government distributes and is generally reserved for students whose families make less than $40,000.
Many of the top agriculture schools offer financial aid to incoming students. These include places like UC-Davis, Purdue, Texas A&M, Utah State, Oregon State, North Dakota State and Iowa State. The Agriculture and Life Sciences program at Iowa State, for example, offers $1.5 million in scholarships every year.