It is a scholarship that can be an important first step in a career in agriculture. Historically, these scholarship winners have gone on to a wide array of agricultural careers, from working the land, to ag communications to farm-related sales and service.
The Kankakee County Farm Bureau Foundation is again offering scholarships to students studying for careers in agriculture. Since 2005, the Farm Bureau Foundation has awarded more than $109,000 to area students studying for careers in agriculture.
The deadline for high school seniors to apply is March 31. Applications must be postmarked by that date or delivered to the Farm Bureau office by that time. The form is also available electronically.
Interested parents or students are encouraged to contact the Kankakee County Farm Bureau for an application. The Farm Bureau is located at 1605 W. Court St., Kankakee.
Last year the Farm Bureau awarded a record number of scholarships — 11.
Five went to high school seniors and six more were renewable scholarships, given to previous winners continuing their studies. The Farm Bureau Foundation also provided two youths with $500 grants to attend agricultural workshops and conferences.
The scholarships are open to students whose primary residence is in Kankakee County or who are a member of the Kankakee County Farm Bureau family. The scholarships are based on four criteria: demonstrated interest in agriculture; character; academic performance and honors; and financial need.
The scholarships given by the Farm Bureau Foundation come in two kinds.
There are $1,500 scholarships that will go to this year’s graduating class. There are also $1,000 renewable scholarships, named in honor of the late Paul Yohnka. Yohnka, a longtime member of the Farm Bureau, was a strong supporter of education. He died in 2012. Yohnka was a 30-year member of the Farm Bureau, who served on the board for 23 years. He was vice president of the year and was one of the founding members of the Farm Bureau Foundation, which raises money for the scholarships.
The Paul Yohnka Memorial renewable scholarships are open to 2020 scholarship recipients, allowing them to continue their studies. These scholarships require an essay of no more than one page. The renewable scholarships were added in 2015.
Although the new scholarships award will be announced in May, the cash is not actually disbursed until the students complete a full-time college grading period with a “C” average or better.
Transcripts must be sent in by March 1 of next year. The renewable scholarships also require the same type of transcript sent in by March 1 of next year.
Miller adds that the Farm Bureau Foundation is open to financially support students who transfer into an agricultural school or who change to an agricultural major.
Those hold the same general characteristics as the other awards.
Applicants with ties to Kankakee County or members of a Kankakee County Farm Bureau family are given preference.
The grants for attending agricultural workshops require a prospective student to submit a syllabus of the event.
Money for all the scholarships comes from an annual letter appeal. Farm Bureau members can also make contributions as they mail back their annual dues notices. Chad Miller, manager of the Kankakee County Farm Bureau notes that there is no fund-raising event, no auction, sale or run. He says folks appreciate that.
He adds that tax-deductible contributions are always welcome. Checks may be sent or brought to the Farm Bureau office, 1605 W. Court St., Kankakee, 60901.