There are plenty of reasons throughout the year to be proud as an Iowa Farm Bureau member. Even as the organization approaches its 100th anniversary, Farm Bureau is well regarded around Iowa as an organization that’s dynamic, that’s gaining membership and that’s playing a key role in improving agriculture and our rural communities.

But I think we can all feel proudest about being part of Farm Bureau in the spring, when the focus moves to youth. To say that Farm Bureau is a supporter of Iowa’s youth is sort of like saying that the state’s farmers grow a little bit of corn. No matter how strongly you make the statement, it tends to be understated.

Scholarships and more

For example, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) recently awarded $1,000 scholarships to 180 college students or prospective college students from all over the state who are pursuing degrees in an agriculture-related field. Those awards are supplemented by the numerous scholarships awarded to local students by county Farm Bureaus around the state, as well as other awards to students. In all, Farm Bureau provides some $500,000 annually in scholarships year after year.

I’ve visited with many of these scholarship winners over the years, and they are impressive bunch. Their dedication to learning and to agriculture clearly shows their dedication to becoming the next agronomists, veterinarians, teachers, researchers and others that will that help feed the world, sustain and protect the environment, and invigorate their communities.

At the high school level, Farm Bureau has long been the title sponsor of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and the Iowa High School Athletic Association, as well as the sponsor of the annual Governor’s Scholar awards. The organization is also a proud backer of the Iowa FFA Foundation, 4-H and other organizations.

To help spread the message of today’s agriculture to all Iowa school kids, Farm Bureau provides support for the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation (IALF). It’s an organization formed recently to provide a central resource for teachers and volunteers who want to teach students about agriculture, and it’s off to a great start.

The Iowa Farm Bureau is always focused on young people and education. And every spring, that dedication clearly shows through.