The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation has more than $50,000 in scholarships available to Ohio students from rural, suburban and urban communities who are pursuing degrees connected in some way to agriculture.
Through 12 programs, approximately 50 scholarships will be awarded. The deadline to apply online at ofbf.org/foundation is Feb. 28, and all applications require letters of recommendation, an essay, school transcripts and photos.
The Yvonne Lesicko Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in honor of Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau’s vice president of public policy, who passed away in 2020. The fund was created to honor Lesicko and provide support for the next generation of student leaders. The income from this endowment will provide scholarship assistance in perpetuity to students majoring in agricultural and environmental policy or agriculture related fields, such as food production, scientific research, education/outreach, policymaking, advocacy, or leadership development for women.
In honor of the legacy of Dr. C. William Swank, who served as Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president from 1968-96, Ohio Farm Bureau announced the creation of the Bill and Helen Swank Scholarship Fund. During his 40-year career, Swank helped Ohio Farm Bureau grow into the advocacy organization it is today, all the while keeping the economic and social well-being of farm families top of mind.
The Richard & Carole Cocks Scholarship is intended to recognize students who come from those areas that provide so much through farming. This scholarship will award annually four scholarships of $3,333 to deserving students entering their sophomore year of college from select rural Ohio counties. Each scholarship award is renewable for up to three years and a total of $10,000 per student.
The Joseph Kelly Memorial Scholarship was established in 2018 to honor the life of Joseph Kelly and to continue his legacy of generosity and service. The scholarship is an annual, merit-based competition that focuses on rewarding students pursuing degrees related to agriculture.
The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Scholar Award recognizes students for academic effort, community service and career interests that use agriculture to enhance the partnership between producers and consumers in rural, suburban and/or urban settings.
The foundation’s Women’s Leadership in Agriculture Scholarship Program is awarded to applicants who may not be majoring in agriculture directly, but whose chosen career field will benefit a field related to agriculture or community development such as food production, scientific research, education/outreach, marketing, policymaking, advocacy or leadership development. The program was established by an endowment from the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund.
Known as Mr. Farm Bureau to his family and friends, Kenny Walter devoted 34 years of his life to Ohio Farm Bureau. The fund is awarded to students pursuing post-secondary education in agriculture who come from a Farm Bureau family in the 29 northeastern counties Watler covered as a regional supervisor and organization director.
The Darwin Bryan Scholarship Fund was established in 1985 in honor of Darwin R. Bryan whose enthusiastic leadership during his 37 years of service to Ohio Farm Bureau has been an inspiration to rural youths throughout Ohio. The scholarship fund assists students who have been active in the Farm Bureau youth program and/or whose parents are Farm Bureau members.
The Cindy Hollingshead Scholarship Fund was established in 2011 to honor Cynthia Anne “Cindy” Hollingshead for her 39 years of service as executive secretary of Ohio Farm Bureau, as well as a lifetime of volunteer commitment to local government and community service activities. The objective of the scholarship fund is to assist students who plan to pursue careers focusing on agriculture, community service or association leadership.
The Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association is a nonprofit trade association representing 2,500 thoroughbred owners and trainers who race at Ohio’s three commercial thoroughbred race tracks. The objective of The Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association Scholarship is to assist students who plan to pursue careers focusing on food or agriculture.
The Dr. David A. Benfield Scholarship Fund was established in 2019 by colleagues and friends of Benfield to honor his 17-year career as associate director of OARDC and associate vice president and director of the Wooster Campus in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and his passion for agricultural education and research. The scholarship is specifically for students in livestock and crop sciences at ATI. The purpose of this scholarship fund is to provide $1,000 to students entering their second year at Ohio State ATI who are enrolled in livestock and crop related majors.
In addition, some county Farm Bureaus have their own scholarship programs. Visit ofbf.org/counties to access the county websites for more information.
For more information about the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, contact director of fevelopment Luke Houghton at 614-246-8254.
Submitted by Heather Boldman, county office administrator, Adams, Brown, Clermont and Highland County Farm Bureaus.