For more than a decade, the Almond Board of California (ABC) has recognized the need to invest in the future of agriculture in the state by supporting the California Future Farmers of America (FFA) Foundation’s scholarship efforts.
Since 2016, ABC’s fund-raising efforts have been led by members of ABC’s Almond Leadership Program (ALP). More than $200,000 has been generated through an annual golf tournament, live and silent auction during ABC’s annual Almond Conference, plus other donations and events during that time.
With the generous donation from Qcify, the 2021 ALP program raised more than $50,000 for FFA scholarships, of which $33,500 were awarded to 17 high school students at the 94th annual FFA State Leadership Conference in late March. FFA members intent on pursuing careers in agriculture – not just the almond industry – are eligible.
“The passion for agriculture is stronger than ever in the hearts and minds of California FFA students,” said Jenny Nicolau, senior manager for industry relations and communications for the Almond Board. “By supporting graduating seniors with scholarships to pursue a degree in agriculture, the almond industry is ensuring that we have leaders to guide and support our industry’s future.”
This year’s scholarship recipients represent every corner of California agriculture. All will be starting their college careers this fall. The scholarship amounts range from $1,000 to $4,500.
The Class of 2022 scholarship recipients are
- Cadence DeCoite of Tracy
- Daniela Rodriguez of Greenfield
- Samantha Albiani of Elk Grove
- Shyanna Ward of Reedley
- Devin Stout of Galt
- Michaela Mederos of Tulare
- Frances Pierce of Patterson
- Kaitlyn Kampman of Hamilton City
- Damon Gallegos of Fallbrook
- Malana Unsell of Bakersfield
- Emily Maners of Sebastopol
- Rachel Majarian of Visalia
- Jasmine Hernandez of Watsonville
- Caleb Eberhardt of East Nicolaus
- Princess Ceballos of Porterville
- Elizabeth Beebe of Santa Maria
- Savanna Barcellos of Gustine
“California FFA is beyond grateful for the continued support and generosity of the Almond Board of California,” said Jill Sperling, coordinator of the state FFA scholarship program. “We are grateful to the Almond Board, the members of its Almond Leadership Program and all of the other almond industry members who contribute to these students’ financial support.”
There is no better measure of the lasting value of the FFA scholarships than Brady Colburn, whose story has come full circle. He received a scholarship in 2014 as he was entering Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He graduated in 2018 and now works as an agronomist for Agri Technovation. Today – as a member of this year’s Almond Leadership Program class – Colburn will be involved in raising money to fund the next set of scholarships.
“Thanks to the Almond Board, kids in FFA have the opportunity to better prepare themselves for the future and learn to appreciate the hard work put into trying to achieve a goal,” Colburn said. “I am proud to be part of the Almond Leadership Program because they are so committed to bettering the next generation of farmers who will ultimately be inheriting our problems now.
“It is especially meaningful to me because the FFA helped mold me into the person I am today, teaching me the value of hard work, preparation and always trying your best.”
Almond industry members interested in partnering with the Almond Board in donating to the California FAA Foundation can visit calaged.org/AlmondLeadershipProgram to learn more or to make a donation.
– Almond Board of California
Fourteen of the 2021 FFA scholarship recipients posed with ABC staff and former FFA members Rebecca Bailey (left) and Jenny Nicolau (right) at the 94th annual FFA State Leadership Conference. Photo: Almond Board of California