Careers in Ag - Scholarship Options

By Troy

I talked last time about a number of careers you can explore in agriculture, many of which are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)-related fields. Education is really important to me – I was a high school teacher for a number of years, and I worked really hard to earn my B.S. in Agricultural Education and M.S. in Crop Science. Where I am in my career is a direct result of my hard work and education.

What’s cool is that the company I work for, Monsanto, believes in investing in the future leaders who are working towards a STEM career in food and agriculture. There are a lot of jobs in agriculture, but a whopping 25,000 of these jobs go unfilled every year because there is a lack of qualified individuals.

I’m going to talk today about some of the scholarship opportunities that Monsanto funds or helps to fund. If you’re on the fence with what you want to do in school, or if you were looking for ways to pay for college, this might be a good nudge in the right direction.

America’s Farmers hosts information on the Grow Ag Leaders program. This program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, gives out over $500,000 in $1,500 college scholarships to students! The goal of Grow Ag Leaders is to encourage students to develop their skills in agriculture so they might work in one of the thousands of available jobs in ag-related fields. The program spans across 40 states, and while the FFA administers the scholarship, you don’t need to be a part of an FFA program to win. Check out the application process here.

The Monsanto Fund also sponsors a scholarship called the 1890s Student Scholarship for minority undergraduate college students. Recipients can be awarded up to $10,000 per eligible year to go towards tuition and fees. The 1890s Student Scholarship was created to help minority students who are enrolled in a STEM-related Bachelor’s degree program at an 1890 land grant institution. (You can learn more about 1890 land grant universities here.) Similarly, minority graduate students working toward a Master of Science in a STEM field can earn up to $25,000 in scholarship money to put toward tuition and fees.

Somewhat recently, Monsanto announced the Black Data Processing Associate (BDPA) Scholarship. This scholarship awards four $2,500 scholarships annually to students who are pursuing or continuing their education in an academic program related to Information Technology.

The Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program is a fellowship program for individuals who are working towards a PhD in rice or wheat plant breeding. The program, named for Dr. Norman Borlaug – called the Father of the Green Revolution in Wheat – and Dr. Henry Beachell – called the Father of the Green Revolution in Rice – aims to encourage PhD students internationally to do more research and development in wheat and rice plant breeding because wheat and rice are staple crops around the world. Monsanto has pledged $13 million to the Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program so far, and the program has led to the education of more than 60 rice and wheat plant breeders worldwide.

In addition to scholarship opportunities, Monsanto has a number of internships available to augment students’ educational experience, because experiential education is important, too! What I think is cool about looking at internships on Monsanto is that the search and application process is similar to searching for jobs, which is the next step for students after they graduate. Take a look at what may be available near you on the Monsanto Career Page.

I have only talked about some of the stuff that Monsanto offers, but there are a lot of other options out there for those who want to work in ag. Agriculture Future of America lists scholarships that they offer, the FFA offers scholarships, and even other agricultural companies (like Syngenta, DOW Chemical, and more) grant money to students who are going into a career in ag. Don’t miss out!


Troy is formerly a high school Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor who is passionate about teaching Agronomics, Ag Science, and Plant Biology. Now the manager of the Monmouth Learning Center, Troy has led the Fantasy Farming Challenge for the past three years, helping hundreds of high school students to understand the choices farmers make against the challenges of weather, disease, weed management, and insect pressure.

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