FFA: Developing Potential

FFA scholarships help forge a future for rural America.

By Laura Hardin

The 2012 National FFA Scholarship application and additional information will be available online at www.ffa.org/scholarships from November 15, 2011, to February 15, 2012. The scholarships are open to high school seniors and college freshmen, sophomores or juniors pursuing either a 2- or 4-year degree or specialized training program.

“Being on the family farm developed my love for animals early on,” says Lauren Geiger. So, while many of her college peers still struggle to choose a career path, Lauren continues to follow the road map she laid out years ago—to become a veterinarian. Now in her junior year at Kansas State University where she majors in animal science and agricultural economics, Lauren is looking ahead to vet school and eventually having a mixed animal practice. She is well on her way, and AGCO Corporation and the National FFA Organization (FFA) are helping her get there.

A native of Mound City, Mo., Lauren became active in her high school’s FFA chapter and went on to hold several leadership positions. She also earned an FFA American Degree, one of the organization’s highest honors, and says she appreciates the opportunities she received from FFA. “I’ve learned a lot about leadership, communication and thinking on your feet, which I know will continue to benefit me,” she says.

AGCO has long demonstrated its commitment to helping the next generation succeed by partnering with FFA and offering scholarships through the National FFA Scholarship Program. “FFA is one of the most recognized youth organizations in rural America today,” explains Doug Griffin, AGCO vice president, Global Marketing and Brand Management. “Its members and alumni share many of the same values—including entrepreneurship, hard work and leadership—that our brands and dealers represent.” Doug speaks from experience; he’s a former member of FFA and currently serves on the National FFA Sponsors Board.

This year, in addition to 18 national AGCO- and AGCO Finance-sponsored $2,000 FFA scholarships, one of which Lauren recently received, the company partnered with its dealerships to add a local component to its scholarship program. Dealers were offered the opportunity to join with AGCO in sponsoring $1,000 FFA scholarships designated exclusively for FFA members in the dealers’ communities.

Within 2 months, the program reached full capacity—55 dealers in 27 states had committed to the program, with several dealers sponsoring multiple scholarships. As a result, FFA members in numerous chapters across the country will be eligible to compete locally for 1 of 118 new $1,000 AGCO Dealer Scholarships.

“I’m very grateful for FFA—and for AGCO’s support,” Lauren says. “It’s a great opportunity. It sounds cliché, but every dollar really helps.”