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New partnership aims to advance minority representation in ag

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Although the agriculture industry is open to anyone with a passion, it can be tough to get a start in this industry for anyone. Thankfully, many companies have realized the importance of diversity in agriculture and are dedicated to making a change. The AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF) announced a three-year partnership with Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) to increase student representation from underrepresented backgrounds and to promote the agriculture industry as an admirable and sound career choice.

Funded by the AAF, the project will provide scholarship opportunities for tailored internship roles and support for hiring talent from underrepresented groups. The focus areas will be agronomy, agribusiness, engineering, data science, software development, sustainability, field technicians, and related disciplines. The goal is to increase diversity and promote the agricultural industry as a viable career.

“AGCO Agriculture Foundation is committed to working to address the diversity gap in the U.S. agricultural industry,” said Metti Richenhagen, Director, AGCO Agriculture Foundation. “Our partnership with MANRRS enables a diverse group of young agricultural enthusiasts to gain knowledge, skills, and professional experience within high-demand areas of our industry.”

The scholarship program is expected to launch this month, with internship commitments for the summer of 2022. In each of the next three years, the AAF will award 16 scholarships to selected minority students in the United States and, together with AGCO Corporation, will create a development and growth program for interns that will serve as a multi-year pathway to help minority students develop competencies and capabilities that align with post-collegiate career opportunities.

“Solving farmers’ most pressing challenges requires continuous innovation and diverse thinking. The AAF partnership with MANRRS enhances our ability to innovate for farmers by building a more diverse talent pipeline. We are thrilled to be able to offer these talented students development opportunities at AGCO,” said Eric Haggard, Director, Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at AGCO Corporation.

The program will be advertised and available at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions. The scholarships will also include invitations for the 16 selected students to participate in the MANRRS 36th Annual Training Conference and Career Expo. Across the United States, MANRRS has a database of over 8,000 members and 55 university and college chapters in 39 states.

“MANRRS is excited about this new program. Our funding support and partnership with the AAF will help more exceptional talents within our network develop their leadership skills while contributing to the transformation of the agri-food industry. To develop state-of-the-art innovation and make strides towards zero hunger, the agricultural industry must be well-positioned to attract diverse talent like our MANRRS members,” said Ebony Webber, Chief Officer of Operations, MANRRS National Office.

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