Farmers grow future generation with scholarship fund
Yuma-area farmers not only are growing crops to feed and clothe the nation, they also are doing what they can to grow future generations to carry on the local agriculture industry.
A few years ago, farmers and businesses that support them started a scholarship program for Yuma-area students who want to pursue a career in an agriculture-related field — and intend to do that in their hometown, said Tanya Hodges, regional academic coordinator for University of Arizona-Yuma.
“It gives a great incentive for young people to stay in Yuma and go into a variety of careers that support agriculture here,” she said.
The Yuma County Ag Producers Scholarship is for students attending or planning to attend Arizona Western College, University of Arizona in Yuma or UA in Tucson with an agriculture or an ag-related major. Science and engineering majors intending to purse an agriculture-related career are also eligible for consideration.
Preference is given to Yuma County high school graduates, including San Pasqual.
And the students must want to come back to Yuma to work after completing their education, Hodges said.
“This is a grow-your-own program,” she said. “And it's really coming to fruition. It's really impacting our students.”
A number of scholarship recipients have graduated and come back to work in agriculture-related careers in Yuma, she noted. They're working for such ag-related businesses as Helena Fertizona, Gowan Co. and Crop Protection Services.
Three seniors who are scheduled to graduate this spring received scholarships all the way through school and several other students are pursuing their higher education with help from the scholarship fund, Hodges noted.
The funds are raised through the golf tournament held during the annual Southwest Agriculture Summit and the Harvest Dinner that tops off the summit.
The new YCAP scholarship application form will be available the first week of March and completed applicationsare due by May 18. Interested students should talk to their school advisor, counselor or agriculture teacher. Alternatively, they can contact Hodges at firstname.lastname@example.org or 271-9560, or AWC Professor of Agriculture Holly Clements at email@example.com
Recipients are selected by a panel.
Students must be enrolled full time and on track for a four-year degree through UA. Students enrolled in a 2+2 or 2+1+1 program qualify.
Typical awards range from $500 to $3,000 per academic year. The scholarship will be applied to tuition, fees, books and supplies and in some cases living expenses. The scholarship is renewable with a new application, compliance with scholarship agreement and continuation of criteria.