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December 12, 2019 December 12, 2019

Ag scholarships to recognize the importance of agriculture in communities

Posted on November 14, 2019 by admin

By Stan Ashbee
Westwind Weekly News

Exhibition Park and The Rotary Club of Lethbridge East recently announced the 2nd Annual $10,000 Agricultural Scholarship Awards and Dinner. In 2020, there will be two $10,000 scholarships offered to two of Lethbridge and District’s top agricultural students. The agricultural scholarships are to further recognize the importance of agriculture in the community by supporting two top students in their pursuit of an agricultural career.

“A year ago we weren’t sure how this was all going to work out. When you do something for the first time, there’s always a bit of trepidation. Are we going to get a enough applicants?” said Wayne Lindwall from the Scholarship Committee, during a media scrum at Exhibition Park to announce the scholarships.

“We felt we needed to recognize agriculture more than we have in the past because we all benefit from how successful the agri-business community really is,” he noted.

Last year was very successful and Lindwall said he wanted to acknowledge the media and sponsors for helping to distribute the information about the scholarship to post-secondary institutions. The first-year winner of the $10,000 scholarship was Lauren Machacek, from the Taber area.

One of the important issues Machacek would like to focus on is ag finance. “I’m definitely interested in succession planning. Looking at numbers and budgeting and issues like that,” she said.

In southern Alberta, she believes there is a lack of succession planning.

“Especially with family succession planning. Looking at children taking over the farm and any issues that come up with that and trying to deal with it,” she said.

As for the criteria for the scholarships, scholarships will be presented to a student who has completed at least three years of college or university at a recognized institution. The student must have demonstrated high academic achievement and leadership qualities in an agriculture-related field. The application must include: A cover letter, which demonstrates academic achievements, community contributions, leadership abilities and aspirations in an agriculture-related field; Three letters of reference from their post-secondary institution and community leader(s) confirming the applicant’s volunteer/leadership qualities; And an overview of their field of study to be supported by the scholarship.

Final selection will be based on a formal interview with the Rotary Scholarship Committee.

Applications will be available online Nov. 18 at exhibitionpark.ca and rotarylethbridgeeast.ca. Applicants must apply before Jan. 24, 2020.

Area of Eligibility: The applicant must be a legal resident of: Lethbridge County, M.D. of Taber, County of Warner, County of Forty Mile, County of Cardston, County of Pincher Creek, County of Ranchlands, County of Willow Creek, County of Vulcan, Blood (Kainai) First Nations, Piikani First Nation, Municipality of Crowsnest Pass or the City of Lethbridge.

During the week of Ag Expo at Exhibition Park on Feb. 27, 2020 there will be the presentation of the scholarship awards. The Keynote Speaker will be Robert Saik with the theme “Encouraging Youth to have a Future in Agriculture.” Saik has forty years of experience as a professional Agrologist, entrepreneur and an international consultant who has worked with a wide-variety of agriculturalists from Nigeria’s minister of agriculture to Bill Gates. His latest book, “FOOD 5.0 – How We Feed the Future” is a pragmatic look at the five iterations of agriculture, culminating in an examination of how technology convergence is reshaping the farm and the consumer.

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Photo by Stan Ashbee

AG-TASTIC: The first-year winner of the $10,000 scholarship was Lauren Machacek, from the Taber area.

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