Sun Prairie, Wis., (May 26, 2021) – The Agriculture and Rural Initiative, Compeer Financial’s donor advised fund, has granted $825,000 to community and technical colleges across the cooperative’s 144-county territory. As announced in January, the organization has committed $1.9 million in grants and scholarships over the next five years with the goal of further developing agriculture’s workforce. This announcement represents the first of three rounds of grants being presented.
“Because Compeer clients often list workforce development among their highest concerns, our board agreed that vocational agriculture education should be a high priority for the fund,” said Roger Newell, a Compeer Financial Director. “Our partners in higher education provide opportunities for young adults in rural communities every day, and we hope this support will enhance those training programs to prepare them for a successful future in agriculture.”
Many of the grants help to enhance the hands-on learning and real-world experiences offered to agriculture students at these institutions.
The following 14 colleges received grants this cycle:
- Chippewa Valley Technical College (Eau Claire, Wis.) – $75,000 for a tractor, training for diverse populations, support for the farm business and production management program, and other needs for programs in poultry, soil, tractor safety and bee keeping.
- Dakota County Technical College (Rosemont, Minn.) – $75,000 for large animal shelter, animals and teaching model development.
- Gateway Technical College (Kenosha, Wis.) – $75,000 for handicap-accessible garden area, horticulture supplies, vet tech x-ray machine and oxygen lines.
- Highland Community College (Freeport, Ill.) – $50,000 for the precision agronomy program’s first tractor.
- Illinois Central Community College (East Peoria, Ill.) – $50,000 for a UTV with GPS and for the Ag, Diesel and Horticulture Showcase.
- Illinois Valley Community College (Oglesby, Ill.) – $25,000 for equipment and technology for the crops, soils, and precision agriculture laboratories, and professional development.
- Kishwaukee College (Malta, Ill.) – $75,000 for greenhouse renovations and upgrades.
- Lake Land College (Mattoon, Ill.) – $75,000 for student recruitment, agriculture education software upgrades and professional development.
- Madison Area Technical College (Madison, Wis.) – $50,000 for equipment updates for ag service technician, ag equipment technology, diesel equipment technology and diesel and heavy equipment technician programs, and student recruitment.
- Ridgewater College (Willmar, Minn.) – $75,000 for a precision ag trailer and to implement a meat-cutting certificate program.
- Sauk Valley College (Dixon, Ill.) – $25,000 for a new tractor for agriculture education.
- St. Cloud Technical and Community College (St. Cloud, Minn.) – $50,000 for soft skills development and agricultural experience development.
- Vermillion Community College (Ely, Minn.) – $75,000 for a building for outdoor learning labs, classrooms and storage.
- Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (Shell Lake, Wis.) – $50,000 for vet tech canine surgical model, dystocia calf, bovine injection simulator and ruminant model.
These grants will directly impact the lives of more than 2,710 students studying agriculture and agriculture related fields, and help to enhance the curriculum offered by more than 125 faculty members and instructors.
In addition to these 14 colleges, 16 others will receive grants in 2022 and 2023 as part of this work. Each partner college will also receive two annual $1,250 scholarships to award students enrolled in the school’s agriculture program or pathway over the next five years.
The colleges were selected as partners based on their agricultural education offerings, agriculture workforce development and geographic impact.
The Agriculture and Rural Initiative was created by the Compeer Financial Board of Directors in 2019 to make signature investments in programs and projects that directly address the needs of farmers and others who work in agriculture.
“Community and technical colleges provide one-of-a-kind educational opportunities, which are focused on the needs and careers in those communities,” said Greg Nelsona Compeer Financial Director. “These grants are part of Compeer’s commitment to champion rural, by supporting our clients and communities, creating sustainable and long-term success in the industry.”
About the Agriculture and Rural Initiative
The Agriculture and Rural Initiative was created by Compeer Financial’s Board of Directors in 2019 to make signature investments in programs and projects that are high priorities to member-owners. To date, $7.5 million has been invested in the Initiative. In 2020, the Initiative provided $300,000 to support pandemic relief efforts.
The initiative’s current priorities are on efforts related to rural infrastructure: food processing and supply chain, and vocational education: agricultural skills and workforce. The Agriculture and Rural Initiative is managed by the Compeer Financial Fund for Rural America Board of Trustees, who oversee the organization’s corporate giving efforts. More information about Compeer’s corporate giving efforts can be found at Compeer.com/giving-back.