The state’s largest farm organization expects investments of over $150,000 in scholarships to return high yields for 87 Auburn University students pursuing agricultural and forestry degrees.
Students were honored at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 2017 Scholarship Recipients Luncheon Aug. 19 at Ham Wilson Arena in Auburn. Scholarships were funded by the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation (AFAF) and county Farmers Federations.
Federation President Jimmy Parnell said as agriculture and technology evolve, the organization’s most important task is investing in the future.
“These young people have answers to questions producers haven’t even thought of yet,” said Parnell, an Auburn ag graduate. “These days, it takes an education to be able to farm and do it correctly.”
At the reception, Kim Slay wore two hats — wife of Chambers County Farmers Federation (CCFF) President Phil Slay and parent to scholarship recipient and AU senior, Zach. Thanks to the Federation, CCFF and Alfa Insurance, almost half the forestry student’s tuition is paid.
“When I married into my farm family, I didn’t realize I was marrying into the Farmers Federation,” said Slay, an AU animal science graduate whose children grew up attending Federation events. “Because of our Alfa family and like-minded individuals and organizations, when Zach graduates next spring, he will not walk off with a crippling load of student debt.”
Fifty-nine $1,750 scholarships were awarded through a county Federation match of $500. The AFAF contributed $1,250, along with support from the Federation and Alfa Insurance.
Another 27 students received county Federation scholarships from Autauga, Baldwin, Chambers, Chilton, Covington, Dale, Henry, Houston, Jefferson, Lee and Madison counties. Other county Farmers Federations awarded scholarships directly to students during county ceremonies.