University of Tennessee's Farm Credit Scholars Selected
KNOXVILLE, TN, Sep. 21, 2012 – The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is pleased to announce that the first five recipients of a prestigious scholars program have been selected.
Earlier this year, the UT Institute of Agriculture and Farm Credit Mid-America unveiled a scholarship program that would select the best and brightest students from across Tennessee and the nation. Known as Farm Credit Scholars, the students will enter specialized curricula that include customized coursework, an international experience, mentoring opportunities and a Farm Credit internship. Students may enter the Farm Credit Scholars program in his or her freshman year. They may renew the scholarships for a total of four years of study, provided they meet the requirements from the previous year.
The first group of Farm Credit Scholars includes Ashlee Ailshie, a junior from Columbia, Tenn., majoring in Food and Agricultural Business; Erin Brinkley, sophomore from Gray, Tenn., majoring in Agricultural Education; Forrest Duncan, a freshman from Decherd, Tenn., majoring in Food and Agricultural Business; Peyton Graham, a Junior from Munford, Tenn., majoring in Food and Agricultural Business; and Billy Rochelle, a freshman from Nunnelly, Tenn., majoring in Food and Agricultural Business.
“Farm Credit saw the need to attract a high caliber of student and with this initial group of Farm Credit Scholars, the program is off to a very successful start,” said Dr. Larry Arrington, UT Institute of Agriculture chancellor. “This scholarship opportunity will provide students with a strong foundation in all aspects of agribusiness and will help them face the future challenges that will help keep us competitive in a global economy.”
Each Farm Credit Scholar faces a very rigorous selection process. During their time as a Farm Credit Scholar, the students take courses in agricultural law; finance, policy and sales; rural development; leadership; and production agriculture. In addition, students are required to complete a research project with written and oral reports to Farm Credit leadership, students and faculty.
According to Dr. John Riley, the program’s coordinator, this initial group of Farm Credit Scholars met the challenge. “We had excellent applications this year. The scholars selected will have the opportunity to learn more about agricultural finance through their internships at Farm Credit Services, classroom experience and other activities related to the financing of farms and agribusinesses. The support of Farm Credit is very much appreciated,” he said.
“The world faces a critical need for agriculture majors and the future job market is tremendously strong,” said Dr. Caula Beyl, dean of the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “They’re exciting careers because you know that you’re fulfilling something that is very important. By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to be nine billion people, if not more. As long as people need food, fiber and fuel, agricultural careers are going to be in the forefront.”
“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 students to become valuable contributors to their communities and to agriculture.”
The college offers diverse areas of study including, 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.
“This first group of Farm Credit Scholars is about to embark on an exciting and fulfilling journey, and our partnership with Farm Credit has made this possible,” said Arrington. “I hope these students will experience a lifetime of fulfillment in one of the most noble professions I know.”
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.