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Monday, September 15, 2008

Yankton Chamber Aims Dollars at Young Agriculturalists

My trip to Yankton this weekend brought to my attention a darned good idea for community development: the Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce has created a scholarship program for young people going into agriculture. The P.A.Y.—Promoting Agricultural Youth—Scholarship will give $500 each year to a graduating senior from Yankton or surrounding counties who intends to study agriculture at college. The Yankton Chamber is also thinking beyond college and aiming to see its investment plowed right back into the community by looking for students who "have their eye on a specific job here at home," says Jeff Pravacek, chair of the Chamber Agribusiness Committee.

Why an ag scholarship from an organization that the casual observer might think focuses more on in-town business?

"Agriculture is vital to this community and we're tring to promote that fact," [Pravacek] added.

Pravacek said that establishing incentives for youth to stay in... their home community is key to economic stability [Lisa Hare, "PAY as You Go," Yankton Press & Dakotan, 2008.09.13, p. B1].

But how many young people actually want to stay on the farm instead of heading for a nice cushy city job? More than you might think, says Pravacek:

Today's producers are business managers more than laborers.... People (in agriculture) still have to work hard, but it's not really the sweat and blisters work with a pitchfork that it used to be. It's a better lifestyle today, so that is more appealing to our young people [Hare, 2008.09.13].

The Madison Chamber sponsors an Ag Scholarship as well. Scholarships like these are a good investment of local dollars, especially if they are targeted at young people who are inclined to reinvest their talent in their hometown.

1 comment:

  1. Wow $500. That will buy 2 text books. Why can't we think big? Like a low interest loan program to purchase livestock?


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