By Marlee Moore
The Alabama Farmers Federation is planting seeds for a healthy future by awarding $133,250 in scholarships to Auburn University (AU) students seeking degrees in agriculture, forestry and related industries.
Eighty students were honored during the organization’s scholarship reception at Lazenby Farms in Auburn Sept. 27. Federation President Jimmy Parnell encouraged students to make connections with fellow students — and future colleagues — during their time at Auburn.
“While I was at Auburn, I built a network of friends all across this state,” said Parnell, an AU alumnus in agricultural business and economics. “That was probably the most important thing I got at Auburn. I encourage each of you to build that network.
“We’re excited to recognize an outstanding group of young people who have a very bright future in front of them. We’re glad to be a little part of that.”
A matching program with the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation (AFAF) and county Farmers Federations funded 57 scholarships worth $1,750.
Local Federations in Baldwin, Chilton, Covington, Dale, Henry, Houston, Jefferson, Lee and Madison counties provided 21 additional scholarships.
Two students earned memorial scholarships honoring industry leaders. Clay Conway of Cullman County received the Ronny Donaldson Memorial Scholarship, while Mobile County’s Cole Lincoln won the Mike Henry Memorial Scholarship. Conway is a senior studying poultry science, production track; Lincoln, a junior, is studying animal sciences, meat science track.
During the program, AU sophomore Ka’Shiya McKinney thanked Federation leaders for their support.
“Thank you for taking a little of the financial burden off us so we can be the future of ag and focus on our classes,” said McKinney, a poultry science student from Tallapoosa County. “We want to pour back into the industry that has supported us.”
Lee County Farmers Federation President Jamie Lazenby commended students on their dedication to education and the state’s largest industry.
“Of all the things we do in this organization, giving scholarships is one of my favorites,” Lazenby said. “This is a great opportunity for students.”
The Federation began awarding AU students scholarships in 1983. In 2009, the AFAF was founded to provide additional support for agriculture education and is funded through Ag Tag sales.
Scholarship applications for the 2022-23 academic year open in November at AlfaFarmers.org/scholarships.