The sun sets on a farm in Gales Creek. Photo: Chas Hundley

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Farm Bureau is offering two scholarships to budding farming and agriculture professionals who are entering or continuing their post high school education.

“The Washington County Farm Bureau’s purpose is to support agriculture and related industries for the success of Oregon Farmers and Ranchers,” says Jacqueline Jones, the bureau’s scholarship chair, explaining the organization’s mission. 

The Farm Bureau President, Nic Vial, describes the goals of the organization as “Promoting agriculture and farming in Oregon, and preserving those industries for future generations.” 

The Farm Bureau is a US based, membership-driven nonprofit with divisions in each state, and within Oregon each county has a Farm Bureau. 

Each year, the Farm Bureau offers two scholarships, one for high school students bound for college, while the other is for current college students who are active in farming and agriculture related studies. 

The goal of the scholarships is to support students intending to pursue careers in farming, agriculture, and related fields. Holding Farm Bureau membership is not required in order to qualify for the scholarship, but those with family Farm Bureau membership, 4H or FFA participation, and other extracurricular experience related to farming and agriculture are considered attractive candidates who are encouraged to apply. 

All Washington county students, including home-schoolers, private school students, and those who have earned their GED are eligible. High school students will be asked to describe their aspirations for their studies and future career, while current college applicants are asked to reflect on how their studies support agriculture and related industries. Both should consider how their studies and future career will positively contribute to the agriculture industry in Oregon. 

Scholarship recipient Andrew Schlueter of Oregon State University began his studies in veterinary science in 2011, and explained how the scholarship has benefited him. 

Schlueter provided this information in an email, because he said he was busy pulling a Jersey calf, leaving him unable to talk on the phone at the time. 

“Oregon State University's tuition for a full time student (assuming 16 credits) has increased from slightly over $2000 per term to over $3000 per term for the 2018-2019 year. This price increase is making college increasingly more difficult to afford without taking on crippling amounts of debt. The cost of tuition now exceeds the upper limit of the subsidized government loans, so many students have to take out loans which will accrue interest while they are in school increasing their debt burden further. All of these factors make financial support for college extremely important now and for the future of education. As a veterinary student I have had to go through 8 years of college and I am extremely fortunate to have found the Washington County Farm Bureau scholarship. Their generosity has been nothing short of amazing and has helped me to reduce my debt burden to a manageable amount. I wouldn't have likely made it this far without them and their continued support.”

Describing the scholarships, Vial explains “At the high school level, students interested in horticulture, veterinary medicine, crop production, animal sciences, nursing, education, as well as vocational training like plumbing or electrical studies can all apply.”

The scholarships are generally funded by membership dues, but if you wish to contribute to the scholarship fund and do not hold Farm Bureau membership, you can contact Jacqueline Jones at jduyckjones@gmail.com.

The high school application can be found here and the collegiate application here.

Completed applications should be returned in person or by mail to Country Companies Attn: WCFB Scholarship 885 SW Baseline, Hillsboro, OR, 97123. Inquiries and questions can also be directed to Jacqueline Jones at jduyckjones@gmail.com or 503-997-0209.