Minnesota corn growers are banking on youth interested in agricultural careers.
Just last year alone, more than 20 county corn organizations awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships to students, according to Brent Renneke, Minnesota Corn Growers Association public relations manager.
To sweeten the pot, MCGA recently announced its first state-wide scholarships — two $5,000 scholarships to college students who are currently enrolled or will be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student during the fall 2019 semester.
Students have until March 8 to apply for the state scholarships.
Deadlines vary for county scholarships.
MCGA president Brian Thalmann acknowledged that county corn organizations have been strong supporters of helping students in their areas achieve their ag career goals. The state scholarships offer another opportunity for them to receive financial assistance.
County corn and soybean grower scholarships have been generous in recent years. In MCGA district one, which covers northwest Minnesota, Norman County Soybean-Corn Growers Association awarded $9,000 to 12 high school seniors in the past five years; Pennington/Red Lake County Soybean-Corn Growers, $5,500 to 11 high school seniors in the past five years; and Clay/Wilkin County Soybean-Corn Growers, $12,000 to 12 high school seniors in the past three years.
All three organizations are again providing scholarships this year, says district field manager Marlene Dufault. Contact her directly for more information at email@example.com.
In MCGA district 2, district field manager Nicole Frank says growers provide $10,000 in scholarships annually. District two covers Chippewa, Douglas, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Otter Tail/Grant, Pope, Renville, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Todd and Traverse counties.
And in MCGA district 3, growers sponsored more than $20,000 in scholarships for 22 local students just last year, says district field manager Kennedy Janssen. District three covers Benton-Sherburne, Carver, Crow Wing-Morrison, Dakota-Rice, Hennepin/Wright, Le Sueur-Scott, McLeod, Mille Lacs-Isanti-Kanabec-Chisago, and Nicollet-Sibley counties.
To be eligible for a state MCGA scholarship, applicants must be a young adult member of MCGA and working toward a degree in an agriculture-related field. The $20 young adult membership, available to ages 16-24, was launched last year for future agricultural leaders who would like to participate in grassroots advocacy. Along with reduced member dues, young adult members are able to stay current on the state’s corn sector and have access to networking and leadership opportunities.
County scholarship applicant requirements vary county to county.
To learn more about the state MCGA and county scholarships, visit mncorn.org/scholarships.
For more information at the county level, county organizations are encouraged to contact their district field managers. Their contact information is available online.