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Kentucky farm women encouraged to consider scholarship program

 

By TIM THORNBERRY

Kentucky Correspondent

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As education remains a vital component in anyone’s life, Kentucky Farm Bureau (KFB) offers a scholarship, annually, for a particular sector of the population looking to make a return to school.

The Women’s Educational Grant is a $1,500 award presented at the annual meeting held in December, and it was established to recognize and assist non-traditional female college students in their efforts toward completing a college education, according to information from KFB.

"Higher education often leads to greater opportunities in life, and we are honored to assist those brave enough to pursue those dreams," said Scott Christmas, KFB’s director of Women and Agricultural Education. "If the money offered through the Women’s Educational Grant can be used to enhance a woman’s life and help further her educational aspirations, then we have achieved our goal."

He said the KFB Women’s Advisory Committee raises money through a live and silent auction held every third year in conjunction with the organization’s state Women’s Leadership Conference. A portion of that money is used for the scholarship.

"They traditionally raise around $7,000 at this event, and the other resources go toward a mini-grant program that is established to help county Farm Bureaus start ag literacy programs in their local areas," Christmas said.

This award program has been in existence about 12 years, but KFB has been in the business of helping to educate its members much longer. The organization’s Education Foundation was formed in 1953 to "help Farm Bureau members and their families reach their goal of obtaining post-secondary education."

Since the beginning of the foundation, more than 1,400 college scholarships, worth more than $2.2 million, have been awarded to both traditional and non-traditional students.

But the role women play in agriculture has increased greatly during the last 60 years, making educational dollars all that more important.

"That role has become more apparent, and now women are more involved in policy implementation than their men counterparts," Christmas said. "That’s something we understand at KFB’s women’s program; we are always encouraging women to engage the policy issues."

He added that there have been so many women over the years who left college to raise a family and help on the farm.

"As the opportunity arises, they would love to go back to college and complete their education, and this is just a way our state Women’s Advisory Committee felt would be a tool or an aid for someone who wished to do that."

More women in general are going to and completing college now than men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A survey conducted by the bureau found that 70 percent of women had either attended some college or received a bachelor’s degree, compared to 61 percent of men.

The survey also showed that, by 27 years of age, 32 percent of women had received a bachelor’s degree, compared with 24 percent of men. This survey included 9,000 participants who were born from 1980 to 1984.

According to KFB, "The Women’s Educational Grant is available to any woman who has been a member of KFB for at least one year, is a high school graduate (GED is acceptable), and is interested in resuming her educational studies after leaving school (either secondary or post-secondary) to fulfill either family or work-related responsibilities."

Christmas said there is a simple application to fill out, along with a high school or college transcript, with goals and a little bit about how this grant will be used to further their education and further the agriculture industry.

Applications can be downloaded at www.kyfb.com/federation/scholarships and must be returned with the requested material to KFB, postmarked by Oct. 24.

8/20/2014