By JOHN O'CONNELL
Students interested in pursuing agriculture-related careers have until Feb. 18 to have their applications postmarked for college scholarships offered through the Idaho Irrigation Equipment Association.
The organization received more than 50 applications last year and awarded 25 scholarships, totaling $16,605, said scholarship chairman Dirk Leavitt.
He said the program is open to students and schools outside Idaho. Though the majority of scholarship recipients reside in Idaho, past winners have also come from states such as Washington, Oregon, California and Utah.
A link to an application form is available online at www.idahoirrigtationequipmentassociation.org/. Leavitt said preference is given to students going into agricultural irrigation and turf-landscape irrigation, but several other agricultural support fields are also accepted. Scholarships range from $500 to $1,000 per student.
The association includes about 150 members from agricultural irrigation companies, as well as members who deal in residential irrigation and golf courses. Leavitt advises applicants to approach a member organization to be sponsored for a scholarship.
"It helps the student to be sponsored by a member organization. It really ups their chances," Leavitt said, adding members include companies from several other states that also do business in Idaho.
Since 1980, IIEA has awarded $333,000 in scholarships to college students. He expects the organization will offer more scholarship money this year than last year. He believes the strength of the agricultural sector has driven a slight enrollment increase in college agricultural programs.