AGCO takes an active role in helping youth by funding scholarships, as well as showing young people the opportunities available in agriculture beyond farming.
In addition to providing nearly 130 individual scholarships worth more than $120,000, AGCO and its Challenger, Massey Ferguson, and Gleaner dealers across the country work directly with youth and many local National FFA Organization chapters.
“Agribusiness locally and nationally needs to be better understood by all and viewed by young people as a viable and exciting career choice,” says John Bookmiller, president of Java Farm Supply in North Java, New York. “We work with our local chapters to provide equipment, classroom materials and tours of our entire operation from parts and sales to technology, so young people here can see that agribusiness offers many career choices and many opportunities beyond operating a farm.”
Bookmiller sees his dealership’s local involvement with the FFA program as a way to not only touch base with future customers, but potentially recruit future employees. And he goes on to say, “It is important we all support the future of agriculture, because we all need to eat.”
Don Boyd, president of Floyd A. Boyd Company, Merrill, Ore., is another dealer in the AGCO organization who strongly believes in the value of supporting FFA. His dealership provides five local scholarships each year through the National FFA Collegiate Scholarship Program, and has done so since AGCO began its dealer-oriented program in 2011.
“FFA and vocational agriculture are great programs for developing young leaders, and the cost of postsecondary education is unreal, so these kids need the help,” says Boyd. “We have traditionally provided equipment to our local chapters for training and classroom learning. We jumped right onto the scholarship program because it is important — an investment in the future, and a way to recognize the achievements of these great kids.
“It’s also fun to meet them,” Boyd adds. “A young lady studying at Oregon State who received one of our scholarships came in just the other day to introduce herself and tour the dealership.”
Enlightening students as to the careers available in agriculture is also a key aspect of AGCO’s involvement with FFA. Each year, the company participates in the Career Expo during the National FFA Convention. Additionally, national FFA officers and other members are hosted for a day at AGCO headquarters in Duluth, Ga. During the 2013 visit, AGCO employees who were FFA members in their youth shared stories with visiting FFA leaders about the impact FFA has had on their lives and careers.
“The young men and women involved in FFA are the future of the agricultural industry and the key to feeding the world, whether they return to the family farm after college or get involved with other areas of agriculture,” says Jason Marx, vice president of marketing at AGCO. “We salute FFA for its fine work and are proud to be a part of the National FFA Collegiate Scholarship Program, which recognizes and supports these students.”
During the 2012–2013 FFA scholarship year, AGCO and 61 local dealers distributed a total of 121 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each. On a national level, AGCO distributes 12 scholarships and AGCO Finance provides funding for six scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each.
AGCO and its predecessor companies are among FFA’s longest-standing sponsors, with 2013 representing 68 years of support. AGCO’s corporate involvement also includes the National FFA Convention and a recruiting presence at the Collegiate Career Fair.
The 2014 scholarship application process opens online Nov. 15, 2013, and applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Feb. 1, 2014. For more details on the scholarship program and a list of participating dealerships offering local scholarships, visit www.ffa.org/scholarships. For more information about AGCO and its products, visit www.AGCOcorp.com.