The week of the 95th National FFA Convention & Expo, rural lifestyle retailer Tractor Supply Co. announced a $5 million partnership with the National FFA Organization. The new scholarship program through its foundation will support the next generation of farmers and rural lifestyle careers, including skilled trades.
Each year for the next five years, the Tractor Supply Foundation will commit $1 million to the FFA Future Leaders Scholarship Fund by Tractor Supply, making it the largest agriculture scholarship fund of its kind.
“With this scholarship, we can help so many young people overcome financial barriers to pursue the educational opportunities and experiences that are critical to rural America,” said Kimberley Gardiner, Chief Marketing Officer of Tractor Supply. “With the support of our amazing customers, Team Members, and partner FFA, we can generate the funds to guarantee Life Out Here is in good hands.”
“The strength of America and our food systems depends on vibrant and prosperous rural communities,” said Erin Fitzgerald, Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action. “This historic scholarship program expands on Tractor Supply’s commitment to lighting the path for the next generation of agricultural leaders across the country.”
Highlights of the $1 million annual scholarship fund include the following:
- $500,000 will be used for 100 scholarships at trade schools and 2-year colleges for students pursuing a skilled trade with $5,000 scholarships
- $500,000 will fund 50 scholarships for students pursuing agriculture-related four-year majors with $10,000 in scholarships
- Tractor Supply will also offer scholarship recipients career opportunities at its stores or distribution centers while they are pursuing their education and will earmark internships at the Company’s Store Support Center each year
The scholarship comes at an important time for agriculture-related careers, as well as skilled trades. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in agriculture and food science are expected to grow by 7 percent from 2018 to 2028. These jobs play an integral and important role in increasing food production to increase yield so that there is enough food to feed the world’s population, which is projected to increase to nearly 10 billion people by 2050.
Further, other research done by the labor bureau underscores the growing demand for workers with expertise in industry-related skills citing the need now totals four million workers needed to replace the eight million that exited the labor force throughout the past three years. Tractor Supply hopes scholarships like these will help the industries fill open positions that require technical skills like clinical veterinarian, carpentry, plumbing and electrical specialties.
National FFA Foundation President Molly Ball stated, “The $5 million Tractor Supply Foundation donation to the FFA Scholarship Program will help an additional 150 FFA members annually with the cost of furthering their education. At $5,000 and $10,000, these scholarships will make a big impact for students awarded the FFA Future Leaders Scholarship Fund by Tractor Supply.”
To support the FFA Future Leaders Scholarship Fund by Tractor Supply, customers will have an opportunity to donate at checkout, either in Tractor Supply stores or online. The first fundraising drive is going on now through Sunday, with the goal of raising $1 million.
Tractor Supply is the largest funder of FFA and has supported the organization through various fundraising initiatives since 1985.