The Alabama Farmers Federation previewed the next generation of agricultural leaders during the organization’s scholarship dinner in Auburn Sept. 20, where over $130,000 was awarded to 79 Auburn University students from 55 counties.
The scholarships fund tuition, housing or books for students majoring in agriculture, forestry or related degrees, such as crop and soil science sophomore Daniel Carter.
“This scholarship means the world to me,” said Carter, a native of Prattville in Autauga County. “It’s always been my desire to take the burden of college off my parents. This scholarship is making that dream possible.”
At the reception, Federation President Jimmy Parnell highlighted the importance of putting down roots at Auburn through educational excellence and by building connections.
“I know firsthand the connections students make at Auburn follow them throughout their career,” Parnell said. “Our recipients are future county and state leaders, and these scholarships are an investment in the future of Alabama, agriculture and the students as individuals.”
For John and Maricile Adcock of Randolph County, Federation scholarships helped ensure their three children earned degrees and secured careers in agriculture. The scholarships were more than monetary support, Maricile said.
“These scholarships helped financially, but they have also given our students confidence — that someone believes in them, that they can finish their degree, that they can be successful,” she said. “I’ve seen our children grow up at Auburn. They entered as teenagers and left as young adults excited about agriculture and ready to serve their communities.”
Henry County native Kaitlyn Chestnut echoed the Adcocks, thanking the Federation for empowering her beyond covering a tuition bill.
“The Alfa community is so willing to pour into us and give us life experiences and advice,” said Chestnut, a sophomore in agricultural communications. “Every little bit counts and helps to get us through Auburn and into our careers.”
The Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation matches $1,250 in funds for each county Federation contributing $500. This year, 55 students received the $1,750 scholarships. Twenty-four students were awarded additional scholarships through their county Federations, totaling more than $35,000. Those students represent Baldwin, Chambers, Covington, Dale, Henry, Houston, Jefferson, Lee and Madison counties.
Olivia Benefield of Cullman County also received the R.W. Donaldson Endowed Scholarship, named after a longtime Cullman County Farmers Federation and Cattlemen’s Association member.
The Alabama Farmers Federation is the state’s largest farm organization with over 357,000 member families and is an affiliate of the American Farm Bureau Federation.