American AgCredit, Farm Credit West, Fresno Madera Farm Credit and CoBank have teamed up to support the Multicultural Scholars in Agriculture program in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. Through this program, Fresno State agriculture students mentor middle and high school students interested in pursuing careers in agriculture, science or technology. In return for their service, Fresno State students receive scholarships of up to $5,000.
Together, the four Farm Credit System entities have committed nearly $200,000 which will be matched by a Title V-HSI grant, through the U.S. Department of Education.
“The future of the health and economic vitality of the Central Valley depends upon ensuring professional development opportunities for all residents, including students from diverse backgrounds,” said Dr. Charles Boyer, Dean of the Jordan College. “This support helps Fresno State continue to develop and train future agricultural leaders of all backgrounds.”
American AgCredit, Farm Credit West and Fresno Madera Farm Credit are all Farm Credit associations serving farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers throughout California. Denver-based CoBank provides financial services to agricultural cooperatives across the state and also serves as the wholesale funding bank for the three associations.
A joint statement issued by the three California associations praises the Jordan College program. “Multicultural Scholars in Agriculture is a tremendous program that will create opportunities for generations of agricultural students. College-age students will gain valuable leadership skills as they pursue their education, and middle and high school students from all walks of life will learn about the many opportunities our industry can offer them. As California-based members of the Farm Credit System, we are pleased to partner with Fresno State and CoBank to support this important program.”
Leili Ghazi, western region president for CoBank, noted that CoBank’s portion of the gift is part of a broader, $5 million fund the bank created to support agricultural research and education at leading universities across the country. In addition to Fresno State, the University of California-Davis and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo are also receiving support through the CoBank fund.
“One of the best ways for CoBank to return value to rural America is by giving to academic institutions that are engaged in agricultural research and training the next generation of rural business and civic leaders,” Ghazi said. “We’re extremely pleased to be able to support Fresno State in this manner and look forward to seeing the benefits of this exciting scholarship initiative.”
The Jordan College offers students a comprehensive, hands-on educational experience. Students in traditional areas of agriculture train on Fresno State’s 1,100 acre farm laboratory in animal sciences, plant science, agricultural education, viticulture and agricultural business. The college also offers programs uniquely related to agriculture including nutrition and dietetics, food science, enology, child development, family science, fashion merchandizing and industrial technology.