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New scholars program introduced

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The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and Farm Credit Services of Mid-America have created a scholars program within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Each academic year, five Farm Credit Scholars will be selected to enter customized curricula that include specially designed coursework, an international experience, mentoring opportunities and an internship.

“Farm Credit Services of Mid-America saw a need for attracting the best and brightest agricultural students from across the state and the country to provide a well-educated, well-trained workforce for the future,” said Larry Arrington, UT Institute of Agriculture chancellor.

“We are grateful for their leadership in this area and for choosing to invest in University of Tennessee students,” Arrington added.

Scheduled for introduction in fall 2012, the Farm Credit Scholars Program goal is to enhance the learning experience of students and to prepare them for careers in agribusiness or agricultural production.

Scholars programs serve to attract high-achieving undergraduates whose academic goals are consistent with the program and the institution.

“We’re looking for the brightest and most exceptional students across all segments of agriculture,” explained David Lynn, Farm Credit senior vice president of financial services. “We are structuring this program to be very open.”

“The majority of scholars may come from the agricultural economics and agricultural business curricula, but we want the program to be available to other exceptional students in the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources,” he added.

“We want these scholars to become valuable contributors to their communities and to agriculture.”

UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Dean Caula Beyl emphasized that the job market is strong for its graduates because “as long as food, fiber and fuel are important, agricultural careers are going to be in the forefront.

“There are many people retiring from traditional roles in agriculture, and someone has to prepare the workforce that is going to take up the mantle there and meet those challenges of the future,” Beyl said.

“The Farm Credit Scholars program addresses this very issue in an impactful way.”

Agriculture is a diverse field. The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources’ eight departments grant undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in a range of fields.

Those fields include but are not limited to agricultural and resource economics; agricultural leadership, education and communications; animal science; biosystems engineering and soil science; entomology and plant pathology; food science and technology; forestry, wildlife and fisheries; and plant sciences.

“Our disciplines run the gamut from producing food to protecting the environment, crops and the food supply to life sciences,” Beyl added.

“That’s probably one of the nicest things about this college,” he said. “You’ve got such a tremendous diversity in careers, and they are really exciting careers, because you know that you are fulfilling something that is very important.

Beyl concluded, “To me there is nothing more important than for a student to know that they will be making a positive impact on the future when they get out of school.”