Farm Credit Services establishes scholars program at UT ag institute

Farm Credit Services establishes scholars program at UT ag institute

Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 11:42 am

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and Farm Credit Services of Mid-America have announced the creation of a scholars program within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Each academic year, five Farm Credit Scholars will be selected to enter customized curricula that include specially designed coursework, an international experience, mentoring opportunities, and an internship.
“Farm Credit Services of Mid-America saw a need for attracting the best and brightest agricultural students from across the state and the country to provide a well-educated, well-trained workforce for the future. We are grateful for their leadership in this area and for choosing to invest in University of Tennessee students,” Larry Arrington, UT Institute of Agriculture chancellor, said.
Scheduled for introduction in fall 2012, the Farm Credit Scholars Program goal is to enhance the learning experience of students and to prepare them for careers in agribusiness or agricultural production. Scholars programs serve to attract high-achieving undergraduates whose academic goals are consistent with the program and the institution.
“We’re looking for the brightest and most exceptional students across all segments of agriculture, explained David Lynn, Farm Credit senior vice president of financial services. “We are structuring this program to be very open. The majority of scholars may come from the agricultural economics and agricultural business curricula, but we want the program to be available to other exceptional students in the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. We want these scholars to become valuable contributors to their communities and to agriculture.”
UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Dean Caula Beyl emphasized that the job market is strong for its graduates. “As long as food, fiber and fuel are important, agricultural careers are going to be in the forefront. There are many people retiring from traditional roles in agriculture, and someone has to prepare the workforce that is going to take up the mantle there and meet those challenges of the future. The Farm Credit Scholars program addresses this very issue in an impactful way.”
Agriculture is a diverse field, as evidenced by the academic offerings through CASNR’s eight departments, which grant undergraduate and/or graduate degrees across a broad range of fields in: Agricultural and Resource Economics; Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications; Animal Science; Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science; Entomology and Plant Pathology; Food Science and Technology; Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries; and Plant Sciences.
“Our disciplines run the gamut from producing food to protecting the environment, crops and the food supply to life sciences,” Beyl added.
“That’s probably one of the nicest things about this college. You’ve got such a tremendous diversity in careers, and they are really exciting careers, because you know that you are fulfilling something that is very important. To me there is nothing more important than for a student to know that they will be making a positive impact on the future when they get out of school.”
Dr. John Riley, professor and coordinator of the Agricultural and Resource Economics undergraduate internship program, has been appointed faculty administrator of the Farm Credit Scholars program. Recipients for the 2012-13 academic year will be announced fall semester 2012. Officials hope to continue the program for five years.
Farm Credit Services of Mid-America is an $18 billion agriculture lending cooperative serving more than 92,500 farmers, agribusinesses and rural residents throughout Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee.
The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.

Published in The Messenger 5.08.12

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