Although only roughly 14 percent of U.S. farm owners during 2011 were women, 43 percent of the members of Future Farmers of America (FFA) were female. High membership in other agriculture-related organizations is also disproportionate for the amount of agriculture leadership positions occupied by women. According to figures reported by the FFA in 2011, the size of farming operations managed by women pale in comparison to those managed by men, with average land allocation for women at 40 acres versus 149 acres for men. Despite these low figures, women are aggressively pursuing entry into the field through female-managed cooperatives, organic farm initiatives and higher education. Increased funding and access to scholarships allocated for women in agriculture provides resources needed to help women excel in this male-dominated field.
National Holstein Women’s Scholarship Organization
Women enrolled in courses for agricultural business at the college level may apply for the National Holstein Women’s Scholarship (NHWSO). Awards for the scholarships are partly funded by sales from member’s recipes, compiled in two cookbooks and an annual silent auction. Applicants are interviewed at the organizations annual meeting and convention. Since its inception in 2011, the NHWSO has awarded139 scholarships for a total amount of $157,000. A paid membership in the group’s association is mandatory in order to apply. (hnhwso.com).
Daughters of American Agriculture Scholarships
The Daughters of American Agriculture offers two categories of scholarships for women in agriculture. Daughters and wives of men participating in agriculture-related work, are also eligible to apply. The Jean Ibendahl Scholarship is open to applicants between the ages of 18 and 23. Students aged 24 and over can apply for the Sister Thomas More Bertels scholarship. Each award is in the amount of $1000. Eligibility is determined by financial need, work experience in agriculture, and grade point average. Funds awarded must be used to study subjects specifically related to agriculture. A copy of the applications and the submission information may be found on the AAW website (americanagriwomen.org).
Mahindra USA WIA Scholarships
Mahindra Tractors sponsors the Mahindra USA Women in Agriculture Scholarship fund, awarding $2500 to four women pursuing an agriculture-related education. Recipients are selected by members of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) scholarship committee. Scholarships are awarded based on an interest in pursuing a career in agriculture, academic excellence, and proven leadership ability. Award recipients may be required to participate in award celebrations that promote Mahindra Tractors. (mahindrausa.com/Community/women_in_ag)