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UPDATE ON NAICC'S FOUNDATION AND SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Source: National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants (NAICC) news release

The Foundation for Environmental Agriculture Education (the FEAE) supports the education goals and activities of the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants (NAICC) by providing financial assistance for quality educational training for independent crop and research consultants, by sponsoring the annual Richard L. Jensen Memorial speaker at the annual meeting, and by providing scholarship endowments to students pursuing careers in agriculture.

The mission statement of the Foundation is to: "Catalyze innovative education and training for current and future professional crop management practitioners." We were founded in 1991 with seed money from two Agricultural Chemical companies that had an interest in ensuring a sustainable resource of educated agriculture professionals.

One of the Foundation's early major successes resulted in the establishment of two university PhD degree programs, the Doctor of Plant Medicine and the Doctor of Plant Health programs at the Universities of Florida and Nebraska, respectively. The purpose for these programs was to train practicing plant health professionals who were destined to practice plant medicine in the field, much as a medical doctor does for people. The programs at the Universities of Florida and Nebraska have since become self-supporting by the respective states.

Currently we offer five annual scholarships to deserving students pursuing a degree in a crop agriculture-related discipline. Three of the five are awarded to undergraduate students. The largest of these three scholarships ($3000) is known as the Jensen Memorial Scholarship and commemorates Richard Jensen, an instrumental founder of the NAICC.

The Jensen Memorial Scholarship is awarded to our most qualified undergraduate applicant, based on their GPA, candidate statement, volunteer service, awards and recognitions previously received, and work history. The 2020 winner of our Jensen Scholarship was Audrey Pelikan of North Carolina State University.

The other two undergraduate scholarships, sponsored by Belchim Crop Protection, are $1500 scholarships that are awarded to the 2nd and 3rd runners-up. Our 2020 winners of these scholarships were Forrest Hanson from North Dakota State University and Cristina Griffith from Mississippi State University.

In 2020, for the first time the FEAE awarded two graduate scholarships. A $3000 scholarship commemorates one of the founders of the NAICC, Edward H. Lloyd. Our winner in 2020 was Agustํn N๚๑ez from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. The second $2000 graduate scholarship is sponsored by Wilbur Ellis to support the agriculture industry. The 2020 winner of that scholarship was Clayton J. Nevins from the University of Florida.

Money from all these scholarships is sent directly to the University registrar to pay tuition for the recipients. Students may apply for these scholarships at any time of the year, but applications are due no later than December 1 with awards notification given later that same month and distributed in the following year in January. Please visit our website for information on qualifications and how to apply for these scholarships.

Additional educational opportunities funded in whole or partially by the FEAE include the following:

• An annual Focus on Precision Workshop to train crop consultants and researchers on precision Ag technologies.

• Keynote speaker honoraria at the NAICC annual meeting

• GLP training workshops for Quality Assurance professionals and researchers. GLP training is required by the EPA to bring novel crop protection products and plant-incorporated protectants to market.

• Contributions to organizations like GAIAC (the Global Alliance of Independent Agricultural Consultants) who bring international speakers to the annual NAICC meeting.

• The NAICC Leadership Program to enhance leadership skills and personal development among our members and prepare them to better advocate for agriculture at the state and federal level

Future opportunities we are working on include:
• Agriculture education of students at the middle or high school level

• Help to develop a Bachelor's degree program at universities to prepare graduates for a career in crop consulting

The outcome of all of these activities is an NAICC membership that is more educated on current agricultural technology and informed on issues affecting agriculture, as well as more students graduating with degrees in agricultural majors, in part due to our help with their college expenses. Ultimately, this should benefit the greater good of agriculture. The resources of the Foundation exist as building blocks for the maintenance and future of professional crop management practitioners.

The FEAE is a non-profit organization, and all our board members are volunteers. All our scholarships are fully administered by volunteers. No one is paid for the work or the service we provide. Our volunteers are passionate about agriculture and donate their time to ensure a robust food supply system into the future. We keep our operating expenses very low, so that nearly all of our funding goes directly to support the educational opportunities in agriculture described above.

The FEAE is in need of sustainable, recurrent funding resources to continue its mission. Individuals can contribute any sum directly to the FEAE. Donations of $250 and above are recognized as a "Friend of the Foundation". If you would like to donate to support the future of agriculture, go to www.naicc.org/donate/. Select the "FEAE General Fund" to support any of our education outreach activities, or the "Richard Jensen Scholarship Fund" if you would like to donate directly to the scholarship fund.

We have also established a framework for suggested corporate donations with annual contributions at various levels as follows:
• Bronze - $1000
• Silver - $2500
• Gold - $5000
• Platinum - $10,000
• Diamond - >$10,000

If you would like to donate at the corporate level, contact Sandra Mackie at sjwmackie@gmail.com to discuss options.


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