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MADISON – Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Sheila Harsdorf announced on May 3 that Wisconsin students interested in dairy careers should apply by June 1 for the new Governor’s Dairy Scholarships.

The scholarships are available to Wisconsin citizens of any age and at any point in their dairy careers, but they must have already been involved in the dairy industry and must plan to continue in the field of dairying – on farm, or in development or promotion.  The funds may be used only for programs that can be completed in two years or less. Four-year bachelor’s degree programs cannot be funded.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our young people growing up on dairy farms, as well as for non-traditional students who are already contributing to our dairy industry,” Harsdorf said. “Dairying is so important to Wisconsin’s economy, and we need to keep growing and developing those skills and knowledge to continually reinvigorate the industry. I encourage our graduating high school students, those already enrolled in classes, and our dairy professionals to take advantage of this opportunity.”

The scholarships may be used only at Wisconsin Technical Colleges or University of Wisconsin campuses that have dairy programs — Madison, River Falls, and Platteville. UW-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course qualifies. Students in dairy production, development or promotion are eligible.

Applicants are required:

  • To have either operated, been employed by, or grown up on a Wisconsin dairy farm; be employed by a dairy products processor or in dairy development or promotion; or be a dairy student in Wisconsin.
  • To be Wisconsin residents, and either U.S. citizens or with legal permanent resident status.
  • To be registered with Selective Service if required.

Those who apply by June 1 will be eligible for scholarships for the coming academic year. They must enroll by Sept. 30 of the year when they receive the scholarship. The awards will be made through the Higher Educational Aids Board, which recommends that they complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid).

“Young people have a desire to learn and implement new technology or better management practices to make their work more efficient, productive and sustainable. Investing in learning opportunities for these students will be a win for both the students and the dairy community," said Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation President Jim Holte. "Not only is this program reaching those who work on dairy farms, it is also supporting those who work or are interested in processing, development and promotion."
 
Holte added, "The dairy community itself contributes $43.4 billion to Wisconsin’s economy each year and this scholarship program will help ensure professionals in this industry have the knowledge and skills to keep ‘America’s Dairyland’ viable and sustainable for years to come.” 

More detailed information and application materials will be available on May 4 at heab.state.wi.us/dairy.html.

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