Agriculture Student Scholarships

Harvest Some Financial Aid

Students interested in pursuing careers in agriculture will find a wide range of scholarship opportunities designed to help them complete their college education. Scholarships for students majoring in agricultural studies are as diverse as the field itself, and cover everything from farming and ranching to agronomy, crop and soil sciences, food sciences, horticulture and plant pathology. A wide range of professional career opportunities are available for agriculture majors, from farm management and animal husbandry to scientific research, natural resources management and food safety administration.

Scholarships for agriculture majors are sponsored by a variety of sources, including Federal and state governments, professional associations, and colleges and universities. Students looking for agriculture scholarships will find that many programs target specific agricultural related disciplines, and my require recipients to be enrolled in a particular course of study or at a partnering college or university.

agriculture scholarships

Government Funded Agriculture Scholarships

The United States Department of Agriculture sponsors a variety of scholarships for students pursuing degrees and careers in agricultural related fields. These programs are open to students across the country, and students can apply through the financial aid offices of their college of choice.

The following examples are a few of the many financial aid programs offered by the USDA:

  • The USDA/Tribal Scholars Program provides scholarships to students attending one of the 1994 Land Grant Tribal Colleges or Universities. Scholarships are available for students pursuing degrees in food science, agricultural science and natural resource management. Award amounts vary according to school, course of study, and financial need.
  • The William Helms Scholarship Program provides tuition assistance, as well as summer internships, for students pursuing degrees in plant pathology, biology, ecology and entomology. The program is currently undergoing a revision to bring it in line with other USDA supported scholarship programs. Students are encouraged to check the USDA website for updates on the return of William Helms Scholarship Program.
  • The USDA Internship Program offers paid work experience for high school graduates and undergraduate college students who are pursuing a degree and a career in an agricultural related field. Interns may work during the summer, fall or spring.

In addition to the programs supported by the USDA, many state governments offer scholarships and grants for resident students pursuing degrees and careers in an agricultural related field. Students from states with large rural populations, and with large farming or ranching communities, should contact their state’s Department of Higher Education Services for information on possible state-sponsored financial aid for agriculture majors.

Agriculture Scholarships Sponsored by Professional Associations

Many national and regional professional associations with close ties to farming, food production and natural resource management, sponsor scholarships for students pursuing degrees in agricultural related disciplines. These scholarship programs typically target a specific discipline or career path that directly relates to the sponsoring organization’s main area of focus. The majority of scholarships supported by professional associations are merit-based, though a few may take a student’s financial status into consideration when making any final award determinations.

The following examples are typical of the scholarship programs supported by professional associatiosn for students pursuing degrees in agriculture and its related fields.

  • 1st Farm Credit Services supports America’s farming families with home and business loans, as well as a full range of agribusiness insurance policies. 1st Farm also offers a number of scholarships for students pursuing farm related agricultural degrees at an accredited college or university in the state of Illinois. The First Choice Agricultural Scholarship for High School Seniors  provides $1500 to high school graduates who have been accepted into an agricultural related program at a college or university within the state of Illinois. Awards are determined by academic achievement. 24 scholarships are awarded every year. The 1st  Farm Community College Scholarship awards $500 to eligible students enrolled in an agricultural studies program at a participating Illinois Community College. Awards are determined on the basis of academic achievement and involvement in community service.
  • American Agri-Women administers the Daughters of American Agriculture Scholarship for female students between the ages of 18 and 24 who are enrolled in an agricultural related program at an accredited college or university. Applicants must be farmers, ranchers, or the wife or daughter of a farmer or rancher. Awards are determined on the basis of financial need and academic achievement. The one time award amount is $1000.
  • The National Potato Council awards one annual $10,000 scholarship to a graduate level student conducting research that will benefit the potato industry. The winner is selected on the basis of academic achievement, leadership potential, and potato-related area of graduate study.
  • The United Agribusiness League offers annual scholarships for students studying agriculture-related subjects in the United States, Canada or Mexico. More than $75,000 in scholarships are awarded every year. Eligible applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA, and must submit three letters of recommendation from a teacher, employer and volunteer organization. Award amounts vary according to course of study, and college of attendance.

Agriculture Scholarships from Colleges and Universities

Colleges and universities are major sources of scholarships for students pursuing degrees in agriculture and agricultural related disciplines. Schools with sizable agricultural departments, and colleges in states with large rural and farming communities, will have the most extensive scholarship programs for their attending students. Agriculture majors will find that their choice of college may be influenced by the availability of these scholarship programs, and may find it advisable to research a number of different colleges before settling on a final educational destination.

Campus-based scholarships for agriculture majors are primarily merit-based, though some schools will take into account an applicant’s financial need when making final award decisions. The following few examples are typical of the types of scholarships offered by colleges and universities for students pursuing degrees in agriculture and agricultural related disciplines.

  • The College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources at North Dakota State University offers more than forty general scholarships for its attending students. Scholarships are available for students at every level, from freshman undergraduate to graduate student. The majority of scholarships are merit-based, but there are a few awarded on the basis of financial need. NDSU also offers a variety of program-specific scholarships in areas ranging from Agribusiness and Applied Economics to Plant Pathology and Food Sciences.
  • The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University offers more than 100 general and program-specific scholarships for attending students. Scholarships are available for students enrolled in a variety of agricultural related programs, including Agricultural Business Management, Animal Sciences, Botany, Food Science and Technologies and Rangeland Science. Awards range from $500 to $2000.
  • Purdue University’s College of Agriculture offers a wide range of general and program-specific scholarships for enrolled students. More than 100 scholarships and fellowships are awarded every year in Agronomy, Agricultural Economics, Food Science, Botany, and Forestry and Natural Resources Management. More than $1.5 million in scholarship funds are dispersed each year, with individual awards ranging from $1000 to $5000.
  • The College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State University offers its students a number of general scholarships for undergraduate students. Awards are determined on a combination of academic achievement and financial need. Applicants will be required to show proof of financial need to be considered for many of these awards. Penn State also offers a wide range of program-specific scholarships for students majoring in areas as diverse as Animal Sciences, Forest Science, Toxicology, Wildlife and Fisheries Science, and Agroecology. Award amounts vary according to course of study and financial need.

Students majoring in agriculture and its related sciences are exploring the many ways that humans interact with their natural environment. Whether on the farm or in the lab; on the range or in the boardroom, agriculture majors stand at the forefront of man’s ability to survive and flourish in a changing ecosphere. The large number of scholarships devoted to students pursuing degrees in agriculture and agricultural sciences is a testament to the continued importance of these disciplines in our modern world.

Students interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, or one of its many related fields, will find a vast array of scholarship opportunities designed to help them achieve their educational and professional goals.