Specialized Coursework, Mentoring and Internships Await Recipients​

2018 UT Farm Credit Scholars

​The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture announces the ​2018 Class of Farm Credit Scholars in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. They are (left to right) Hailey Rose ViarsCora Beth KeyJohn Calvin BryantMadison Kilbarger and Erin Bacon. Photo by T. Salvador, courtesy UTIA. Download image​

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ― For now they’re bright, talented students. In the near future, they’ll be charged with taking their passion for agriculture and helping to feed the world and care for our planet. 

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is announcing the selection of five new members of the Farm Credit Scholars Program, which is funded by  Farm Credit Mid-America and provides scholars with a $3,000 annual scholarship and many educational and professional development opportunities. These students will study customized coursework, travel to Washington, D.C., take field trips to agricultural enterprises, have mentoring opportunities and work in a Farm Credit internship. This partnership was formed in 2012, and 37 students have received the honor of participating in this program.

This year’s Farm Credit Scholars are Erin Bacon, a sophomore from Dandridge in Ag Leadership, Education & Communication and Animal Science; John Calvin Bryant, a junior from Lawrenceburg majoring in Food Science; Cora Beth Key, a sophomore from Celina in Animal Science; Madison Kilbarger, a sophomore from Jamestown, Ohio, majoring in Food and Agricultural Business; and Hailey Rose Viars, a sophomore from Loudon in Ag Leadership, Education & Communications and Public Relations.   

The students all expressed their gratitude to Farm Credit Mid-America for the organization’s generous support, and talked about their plans for the future.

“I am an advocate for the American farmer, and I hope to make a difference in the future of agriculture because it has changed my life in ways I cannot describe,” says Kilbarger.

“I’m committed to using my voice for agriculture,” says Viars. 

The students went through a rigorous selection process. They will take courses in agricultural law, farm management, agricultural finance, communications and leadership. In addition, the students are required to complete a special project during their internship with written and oral reports to Farm Credit administrators, as well as UTIA faculty and fellow students. The recipients may renew the scholarships each year of their undergraduate studies provided they meet the requirements.

“This program is continuing to attract the cream of the crop among CASNR students. Scholars who have already graduated, though still young, are already beginning to make their mark as they pursue careers in some area of agriculture. In partnership with Farm Credit Mid-America, we here in CASNR are committed to preparing this new class of scholars to be future leaders within Tennessee agriculture and beyond,” says Bill Park, director of the UTIA Farm Credit Scholars Program and a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture celebrates 50 years of excellence in providing Real. Life. Solutions. through teaching, discovery and service. ag.tennessee.edu​.



Charles Denney, UTIA Marketing & Communications, cmdenney@utk.edu